Champion of Worker Safety Cause is Celebrated
A leader in the fight for worker safety in Philadelphia and the nation will be celebrated at PhilaPOSH’s 40th Anniversary party.
According to Philly.com, residents of Bridesburg in the late 1970s had a cancer death rate that was twice the national average. At that time PhilaPOSH, the Philadelphia Project on Occupational Safety and Health, and a group of concerned citizens partnered to form a small union and foundation focusing on worker safety. Rick Engler championed the cause, founded and led the organization.
PhilaPOSH will celebrate Engler on Friday at its 40th anniversary award banquet appreciating that alliance.
The Philadelphia Worker and Community Right to Know ordinance was passed in 1981. The city’s foremost ordinance on this matter gave residents the right to know what chemicals were being used by businesses in their respective neighborhoods. The Spirit recently ran an article about lead poisoning in the Riverwards, which is directly related to this issue. The ordinance was a catalyst and spurred other states and regions around the country to pass similar legislation.
President Obama appointed Engler to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board — a federal agency that investigates chemical accidents — in 2014.
Barbara Rahke, the PhilaPOSH director, explained that, “Rick was really the brilliant visionary architect on this who saw the need to connect worker safety and right to know and environmental safety and community safety,”
More are set to be honored at the event and they are Eileen Senn, Philadelphia city risk manager Barry Scott; Bricklayers and Allied Workers Local 1 President Dennis Pagliotti, AFL-CIO Bucks County Central Labor Council president Tom Tosti and Javier Garcia Hernandez.