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For Immediate Release,
Kathy Lane
Communications Director
(630) 775-2307
​The National Safety Council Recognizes the Honorable Elizabeth Dole
Celebrating a lifetime of lifesaving contribution and service to safety
Safety Achievements
U.S. Secretary of Transportation, 1983 - 1987
  • Third Brake Light: Mandated high-mounted brake light on cars, which eliminated an estimated 900,000 crashes annually.
  • Aircraft Cabin Safety: Series of rulemakings initiated to include making seats less flammable, improving cabin evacuation, reducing cabin fire risk. 
  • Drunk Driving: Helped lead efforts to implement findings of the Presidential Commission on Drunk Driving, particularly those relating to nation’s youth. Strongly supported enactment of legislation for a uniform drinking age of 21 in all 50 states, thereby eliminating "blood borders" between states. Centers for Disease Control in 2012 reports teenage drinking and driving have been cut by more than half in previous twenty years.
  • Air Bags and Safety Belts: Issued safety rule resolving twenty-year controversy over air bags in cars. It called for phase-in of automatic crash protection unless states covering 2/3 of the U.S. population enacted serious safety belt laws. The rule was designed to spawn a vigorous competition between proponents of state safety belt laws and those advocating air bags and automatic crash protection, thereby obtaining both. No state, prior to 1984, required safety belt use, usage was 13% and air bags were simply not available. By 1987, safety belt use laws were on the books in 29 states, belt usage had tripled, and ten manufacturers were offering air bags.
  • "Trifecta": Safety belt laws in 49 states, air bags in more than 200 million vehicles, and drinking age of 21 are credited with saving nearly 400,000 lives to date. The estimate for each coming year is an additional 20,000 lives.
  • Airline Safety Inspections: Initiated program of 14,000 additional safety inspections of all airlines, with in-depth inspection of 43 airlines. FAA Safety Inspectors increased by 25%, rising to 60% by 1987. Eighteen month safety audit of private and business aircraft. Updated inspector handbook for first time in 28 years. 
  • Safety Review Task Force: Established a Special Task Force of safety experts and program analysts to examine safety issues in depth in each mode of transportation. Led to total overhaul of FAA inspection system to improve uniformity, accountability, and objectivity. Also led to more resources for motor carrier inspections, broadened coverage for NHTSA enforcement program, and coordinated rail safety inspections on a national basis.
  • Air Passenger Safety: Imposed tougher aviation security measures, including hiring more air marshals and enhanced luggage and cargo surveillance. Led efforts to get International Civil Aviation Organization to adopt these measures. European transport ministers adopted U.S. aviation security initiative in 1986. 
  • Rail Safety: Twelve-year logjam broken by DOT rule ordering drug and alcohol testing of rail employees after accidents. Special inspections of carriers to identify and correct system-wide safety problems. Ordered retrofit of 3,000 rail tank cars carrying liquid flammable gases to strengthen against damage. Each year since 1983 set the record as safest in rail history. 
  • Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety: Campaign to eliminate multiple licenses that allow truck drivers to avoid suspensions and revocations often involving drunk driving. Also provided for special license requirements for driving trucks and tractor trailers. Strongly urged legislation, enacted with state and industry support, which provided a tripling of federal funding to train state motor carrier safety inspectors. 
  • Drug Testing: The US DOT becomes first civilian department to institute random drug testing of employees. Testing covers senior appointees and 30,000 employees in critical safety and security-related positions that have a direct impact on public health and safety, with rehabilitation for those found using drugs. Comprehensive drug program specifically designed to protect individual dignity, privacy, and confidentiality. Initiated rules extending testing to critical safety and security employees in key transportation industries. 
  • Aviation Safety:  Increased measures to strengthen air traffic control at airports that have the heaviest traffic and required collision avoidance warning systems in commercial aircraft. Required that general aviation aircraft have advanced transponders in heavy traffic areas. Proposed one billion dollar increase (20%) in FAA budget. Air traffic controller workforce increase of 24%, with fully qualified controllers increase of 67% since 1983.
U.S. Secretary of Labor, January 1989 - October 1990
  • Ergonomics: Launched a major initiative to reduce repetitive motion trauma, one of the nation’s most debilitating across-the-board worker safety and health illnesses. Announced ergonomic guidelines for the red meat packing industry and began the rulemaking process to address ergonomic hazards across all industries. 
  • Ergonomic Agreements: Reached groundbreaking agreements with Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation and the United Auto Workers (UAW) for comprehensive ergonomics programs to control cumulative trauma disorders. The Ford agreement was corporate-wide and Chrysler’s program affected five auto assembly plants.
  • Motor Vehicle Risk to Workers: Proposed an initiative to address the fact that one-third of occupational fatalities involve motor vehicles. Employers would require employees to use safety belts on official business, and employees using a motorcycle on the job would be required to wear a helmet. 
  • Worker Fatalities: Called for tripling civil penalties, as well as upgrading criminal penalties to felony charges when warranted and a worker’s death was involved. 
  • Safety and Health Standards: Issued rules to protect 39 million workers from accidents by requiring virtually all machinery to be locked during maintenance and equipment servicing (lock out-tag out); to protect 1.75 million workers from hazardous waste exposure; to protect workers during tunneling and underground construction; to protect workers from lead exposure; and to protect workers on powered platforms. 
  • Blood-borne Pathogens:  Promulgated a new regulation to protect 5.3 million workers against the AIDS and Hepatitis B viruses and other blood-borne pathogens. This marked the first effort in OSHA history to deal with a biological hazard or infectious disease. 
  • Confined Spaces Rule: Proposed new regulations to protect 2.1 million workers who enter hazardous confined spaces while on the job. 
  • Chemical Hazard Information: Required employers to inform their employees of the potential dangers of serious chemical hazards on the job and to train them in proper safeguards. 
  • Chemical Plant Explosion:  Issued the largest OSHA fine to date of $7.3 million against a major corporation for a series of safety violations resulting in 23 fatalities and 314 injuries. 
  • Construction Safety: Created Office of Construction and Engineering within OSHA to emphasize importance of safety in this industry. 
  • Electrical Safety: Issued final electrical safety work practices rules that were expected to save many lives annually. 
  • Industrial Catastrophes: Proposed a standard designed to prevent industrial catastrophes caused by high risk chemicals. 
  • Mine Safety and Health Administration Actions: Conducted an aggressive mine accident reduction program in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. These four states historically had accounted for more than 70% of all coal mining deaths. 
  • High Hazard Mines: Initiated a new program to identify high-hazard mines that may be at special risk for fires and explosions. Through a new computer program, DOL can now identify mines with indications of a high potential for a major fire or explosion based on intrinsic mining conditions and poor safety performance. 
  • Repeat Violations: Increased fines for many safety and health violations for mines with an excessive history of violations. Such mines also subject to stepped-up inspections and enforcement actions such as closure orders. 
  • Patterns rule: Mine operators who continually allowed miners to be exposed to serious safety and health hazards to be subject to special enforcement actions under a new "Patterns of Violations" rule. 
  • Largest Mine Safety Fine: Levied more than $500,000 in fines against a company for violations uncovered in the investigation of the September 1989 mine explosion. 
  • Respiratory Hazards: Proposed new regulations to address respiratory hazards to miners. 
  • Electrical Safety: Revised safety rules for using electricity in underground mines to reduce injury due to shock and burns. 
  • Toxic Substances: Made major changes in methods used in the mining industry to control exposure of miners to airborne chemical substances including asbestos and toxic chemicals. 
  • Inspections: Ordered more than 95,000 inspections at U.S. coal, metal and nonmetal mines during 1989 to ensure miner safety. 
  • Child Labor: Concerned that labor shortages were causing child labor violations, four DOL strike forces carried out a national crackdown. More than 9,000 investigations were initiated and 3,500 violations were found involving 29,000 children. Violation rate declined 51 percent in six months after crackdown. 
  • Enforcement Review: A review of all the many enforcement responsibilities of the entire Department was conducted to ensure they were up-to-date, firm, and fair. Resulting recommendations provided more cost-effective enforcement, cross training of personnel, more education and technical resources for small business, and new procedures for criminal sanctions where fully appropriate. These recommendations were published in a report to the Department, the Congress, and the public.
 President, American Red Cross, 1991 - 1999 
  • Blood Transformation: A $287 million, 7-year conversion of the way the Red Cross tests and distributes one half of America’s blood supply, from an antiquated World War II blood infrastructure to a centralized, state-of the-art operation. The transformation integrated 28 different computer systems into a central operation; replaced 53 testing facilities with 8 state-of-the-art labs to test for infectious diseases; standardized manufacturing processes across each of its 38 blood regions and established a Quality Assurance Program second to none. 
  • Charles Drew Biomedical Institute: Founded for technology-based training of Red Cross – and non-Red Cross – blood banking personnel, with a curriculum developed in collaboration with the FDA. 
  • Blood testing: Increased, from 3 to 8, the number of tests for infectious diseases on each unit of donated blood to better ensure blood safety. 
  • Holland Laboratory: The world’s premiere blood research facility, the Red Cross developed improved methods of making the blood supply ever safer, while discovering many medical innovations, including the fibrin sealant bandage to control excessive bleeding in seconds and thus save thousands of lives, including on the battlefield. 
  • Blood Safety: On the 50th Anniversary of Blood Services, a major national campaign was conducted to raise public awareness of the safety of blood – that it is safe to give and safe to get. 
  • Disaster Services: To better meet the emotional needs of disaster victims, the Red Cross launched in 1992 Disaster Mental Health Services – utilizing volunteer psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and other licensed mental health professionals with Red Cross training – to help survivors and family members of major aviation and other disasters. 
  • New Safety and Health Programs: Many new health and safety programs were created, including an expanded version of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Education program.
Major Safety Awards
  • National Safety Council Flame of Life "A Safety Leader of the Century" Award
  • National Safety Council Distinguished Service to Safety Award
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Safety and Health Hall of Fame International
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