The 98-year-old American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) this week congratulated reporter Alexandra Berzon and the Las Vegas Sun for not only winning the Pulitzer Prize award for public service reporting but also for raising awareness of the importance of workplace safety. Based in Des Plaines, IL, ASSE represents 32,000 occupational safety, health and environmental professionals located worldwide committed to protecting people, property and the environment. It noted that the newspaper exposed to the public the high death rate among construction workers on the Las Vegas Strip amid lax enforcement of regulations, leading to changes in policy and improved safety conditions.
In his congratulatory letter sent to Berzon April 20, ASSE President Warren K. Brown noted, “A workplace fatality is not just a number, but a person with family, friends, and co-workers, as your Las Vegas Sun stories illustrated. Your continued excellent research and reporting on the issue of workplace fatalities and injuries, especially in the construction field, in Las Vegas have had a positive effect on the city and the state, especially for workers and their families, when it comes to enhancing safety.”
Brown went on to note, “By raising awareness of the issues at hand and educating your audience on the positive effects of developing and implementing comprehensive occupational safety and health programs and realizing the value of the safety professional, the Las Vegas Sun series has made a difference and we congratulate you.”
This honor not only awards the reporter and the newspaper but illustrates the importance and the major interest in work safety worldwide. This is also illustrated by the fact that repeat Pulitzer Prize winner New York Times Reporter David Barstow (2009 for investigative reporting) also won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2004 with Lowell Bergman for a series on worker safety issues in the U.S. and Canada.
“Our members enjoyed discussing safety, health and environmental issues with you at our professional development conference in Las Vegas last June and throughout the year. We look forward to continuing to work with you, the Las Vegas Sun and all media in an ongoing effort to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities,” Brown said.
The Pulitzer Prizes are sponsored by the Columbia School of Journalism in New York City.
Founded in 1911, the Des Plaines, IL-based ASSE is the largest and oldest professional safety organization and is committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its members lead, manage, supervise, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, health care and education. For more information please go to www.asse.org.
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