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In Memoriam: Dr. Eula Bingham, 1929-2020

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Press Contacts: 

Roger Kerson, 734.645.0535; roger@nationalcosh.org

In Memoriam
 Dr. Eula Bingham, 1929-2020

LOS ANGELES – The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH), the COSH Network and our allies mourn the passing of Dr. Eula Bingham, a pioneering scientist, pathbreaking government regulator and forceful advocate for workplace health and safety and the rights of working people.

Shortly after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created in 1971, Dr. Bingham, then at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, served on several federal advisory committees working to establish standards to protect workers from lead, hydrocarbons and carcinogens. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter, at the urging of several unions, appointed her to head the agency as assistant secretary of labor. During Dr. Bingham’s tenure, OSHA successfully issued regulations protecting workers from exposure to lead, benzene and cotton dust, and published a Right-to-Know standard giving workers the right to information about hazardous chemicals in their workplaces.

One of Dr. Bingham’s proudest accomplishments at OSHA was the creation of a program then called New Directions, and now referred to as the Susan Harwood Training Grants, which provides training to workers about how to identify and remediate workplace hazards.

“Eula Bingham helped fuel the grassroots worker health and safety movement that carries on today,” said Peter Dooley, safety and health senior project coordinator at National COSH. “The workers, activists and health and safety professionals she touched directly, or who were trained by programs she started, are better equipped to meet today’s incredibly difficult workplace challenges because of Dr. Bingham’s commitment to educating and empowering workers.”

After leaving OSHA in 1981, Dr. Bingham returned to the University of Cincinnati, where she remained active as a professor, mentor, researcher, member of scientific advisory panels and consultant to workers, unions and governmental and non-governmental organizations working to improve occupational safety and health.

Dr. Bingham was known throughout the worker safety movement as a warm and generous colleague with a ready sense of humor, always available to talk, listen and assist in efforts to make our workplaces safer.  Her legacy will endure, for the millions of workers who are protected by the regulations she brought to life, and for the thousands and thousands of workers who learned about their workplace rights through training programs she established. Dr. Bingham set an example worth following for anyone with responsibility for protecting workers, and she will be deeply missed.

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National COSH links the efforts of local worker health and safety coalitions in communities across the United States, advocating for elimination of preventable hazards in the workplace. For more information, please visit coshnetwork.org. Follow us at National Council for Occupational Safety and Health on Facebook, and @NationalCOSH on Twitter.