The William Steiger Memorial Award honors individuals from the social/political sphere whose efforts have contributed to advancements in occupational safety and health. Michael J. Wright is this year’s Steiger Award recipient for making such contributions.
Mr. Wright is the Director of Health, Safety and Environment of the United Steelworkers (USW), the largest manufacturing union in North America.
Mr. Wright trained as an industrial engineer at Cornell, and an industrial hygienist at the Harvard School of Public Health. He joined the USW in 1977 and became department head in 1984. He has also served as the head of the union’s education department, where he directed the training for participants in the joint union-management partnership programs in the steel industry.
Mr. Wright has participated in the fight for numerous Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) standards, including lead, arsenic, asbestos, chromium, hazard communication, process safety management, confined spaces, lockout/tagout, beryllium, and diesel exhaust in underground mines. He has worked extensively on international health, safety and environment issues with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). He has taught safety and health, visited workplaces, and worked with unions in South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Poland, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Russia. Mr. Wright was a member of an international team that investigated the Bhopal disaster. He is a former member of the Program Advisory Committee of the International Program on Chemical Safety (IPCS), set up under the ILO, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN environment). He also served on the international coordinating group overseeing the effort to harmonize chemical classification and labeling systems throughout the world, whose work resulted in the Globally Harmonized System for Chemical Classification and Labeling (GHS). Mr. Wright currently serves on the world’s first global union-management safety and health committee, established in 2009 by ArcelorMittal Steel.
Mr. Wright’s work has made a lasting impact on occupational safety and health and ACGIH® is pleased to honor him as the recipient of this year’s William Steiger Memorial Award.