Cynthia Lewis Reappointed to National Workplace Safety Committee

By Kev' Moye

Lewis, associate professor and director of the college’s Office of Professional Development and Program Evaluation, will collaborate with the United States Department of Health and Human Services as one of two designated public representatives.

“I was happy to learn that I was reappointed,” she said. “The committee has built great momentum working on projects and providing advice and insight to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). I wanted to continue that work.”

The committee was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The 12-person group specializes in providing guidance and recommendations to the U.S. Secretary of Labor. The counsel helps the secretary, and the assistant secretary of Occupational Safety and Health, in terms of providing substantive input on workplace safety and health issues.

“This committee gives workers and employers a voice at a federal government level,” Lewis said. “The subject matter experts on the committee represent labor, academia and business.”

Lewis was first appointed to NACOSH in December 2016 and has been reappointed every two years since then. She has served as the committee’s chair since 2021. Lewis says this appointment is about protecting people — of all ages and backgrounds — as a workplace injury or illness can undermine a family’s well-being.

Lewis said she’s also eager to help balance out the health side of safety and health.

“My background is industrial hygiene, which is one of the occupational health jobs,” she said. “Additionally, I received support from NIOSH as a hazardous waste trainee during my master’s program. Therefore, this is an opportunity to “pay it back” for their support, by working with them.”

Lewis, whose term will conclude in November 2025, also plans to vigorously advocate for rural populations.

“Since moving to Arkansas, I’ve gained a new perspective on rural populations, agriculture and the needs of small businesses,” Lewis said. “Many of the committee appointees have been from large cities or major corporations. Adding my perspective to the conversation helps to achieve a balance of ideas and opinions when the agencies make decisions about new regulations and communications.”