Distinguished Service to Safety Award

Honorees were celebrated at the 2023 NSC Safety Congress & Expo

NSC Distinguished Service to Safety Award is the most prestigious award given to individuals by the National Safety Council. Since 1942, the award recognizes outstanding service and contributions to the field of safety. Candidates are nominated by the general public and NSC members, and reviewed by NSC Division committees. Candidates must have had a sustained impact on the safety movement at the local, national or international level that resulted in increased injury prevention. This may also include advancement of safety theory and research.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2023 Distinguished Service to Safety aWARD wINNERS
Lester Claravall, Child Labor Officer, Oklahoma Department of Labor

As Oklahoma’s only full-time child labor officer during the past 25+ years, Lester has made it his life’s work to protect the nation’s youngest workforce against workplace abuse, exploitation, endangerment and dangerous jobs.

Joaquin Diaz, EHS Director, SKANSKA USA Building

Joaquin has served under three governors as chair of the hoisting machine operator’s advisory board, a group responsible for developing crane operator licensing. He developed an HSE program that helped reduce injury rates from over 20 to 0.48.

Michael Ezzell, Master Trainer, Director of Safety & Compliance, Greater Texas Safety Training

Mike is the one National Safety Council Master Instructor approved by NSC for instructing First Aid and their Defensive Driving Courses. He was instrumental in developing a relationship between NSC and federal, state and local government agencies. Mike Ezzell was and remains the catalyst behind the choice to change from the use of the word "accident" in defensive driving to "crash" or "collision."

Joe Grabinski, Chief Environmental Safety & Health Steward, Teamsters Local 1150 (retired), Sikorsky Aircraft - a Lockheed Martin Company

Joe has been a Teamster, a safety leader, a mentor and blue-collar worker at Sikorsky Aircraft for almost 40 years. For more than half of those years, he has served as chief environmental health and safety steward for Teamsters Local 1150. Joe currently serves on the Board of Delegates for NSC and is a former chairman of the Labor Division of NSC.

Michelle Garner-Janna, Executive Director - Corporate Health, Safety & Environment (retired) Cummins Inc.

With Michelle Garner-Janna’s leadership, Cummins has developed a world-class safety program that is benchmarked by companies around the world. The organization was subsequently recognized as one of America’s safest workplaces by EHS Today in 2010 and honored with the Robert W. Campbell Award in 2014. In addition, Michelle Garner-Janna has served on the NSC Board of Directors and as chair of the Campbell Institute.

Dan Nabors, Transportation Engineering & Operations Bureau Chief, Arlington County 

Dan has dedicated his career to improving multi-modal safety. In his current tenure at Arlington County, Dan initiated the adoption of Vision Zero and moved the needle for safety across all departments at the County. Dan has co-authored dozens of publications and guidance documents for FHWA and developed courses for state and local practitioners.

Marcus Simpson, Director of Safety, University of North Dakota 

Marcus has spent his safety career in a range of industries, including medical, construction, maritime, industrial, power generation, and now higher education. He has trained and mentored 80+ safety professionals in his career. He was ahead of his time in teaching young safety professionals to not be safety cops but to be leaders, coaches and consummate professionals in the field. Mr. Simpson is an Air Force veteran and former police officer. 

Larry Wilson, President/Founder, SafeStart International 

Larry is a safety expert and author who is best known for developing the SafeStart program, a safety training program designed to help individuals and organizations reduce injuries that occur everywhere. SafeStart is based on the premise that most accidents are caused by human error and that by focusing on human factors such as fatigue, complacency and distraction, organizations can reduce the number of accidents that occur.

History of the DSSA

The Distinguished Service to Safety Award was first presented in 1942 to recognize individuals and companies who significantly supported U.S. workers during World War II by reducing occupational injuries. For more information about the Distinguished Service to Safety Award, as well as other NSC awards, visit nsc.org/awards.

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