Symposium hosted by UAB School of Public Health to focus on worker safety

Annual symposium address issues in workers’ safety, focusing on temporary workers.

In 2014, 4,679 workers died due to unsafe working conditions, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Temporary or contract workers are at significant risk, with 797 deaths from sudden events in 2014, 17 percent of the United States total.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Deep South Center for Occupational Health & Safety is hosting a symposium focused on the safety and well-being of the underserved population of temporary workers.

“Each year, the Deep South Center selects a topic for our Emerging Issues Symposium based on events or challenges our professionals are facing that demand greater urgency and need,” said Allyn Holladay, deputy director of the Deep South Center. “This year, our focus on temporary workers could not be more relevant.”

worker safety

“This special population of workers is not only a huge cohort in the U.S. workforce, but also one at great risk for preventable injuries or even death on the job. We hope Emerging Issues 2016 will bring attention to the need for safety training and education for temporary workers and answer OSHA’s and NIOSH’s urgent call to send every worker home to his or her family whole and healthy after a day at work.”

The symposium begins Thursday, April 14, at the Alabama Theatre with the Alabama screening premiere of “A Day’s Work,” which tells the tragic story of Day Davis, a temporary worker who died on his first day on the job at a bottling plant in Florida. According to the filmmakers, his life and death are the factors for a broader narrative about corporate America’s strategy to create a disposable workforce with little or no safety protection.

With thousands killed in preventable workplace accidents every year in the U.S., the film provides a reminder of the cost of just one individual by vividly looking into the life and perspective of Day’s 17-year-old sister, Antonia.

Following the film, Ramona Morris, area director of Birmingham’s OSHA office, will join producer Dave DeSario for questions and answers. Ron Hayes will then discuss his advocacy project, Families in Grief Hold Together.  

On Friday, April 15, the DSCOHS annual symposium will continue at Vulcan Park & Museum, where attendees will hear about new research with a broad range of practice implications funded by the DSCOHS.

The keynote speaker is Jimmy Perkins, CIH, Ph.D., a retired professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Additional speakers include:

  • Chris Trahan, CIH, deputy director of the Center for Construction Research and Training
  • Lisa Pompeii, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Tenchi Gao, Ph.D. student, Auburn University
  • Evan Floyd, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Anna Adetona, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia
  • Yousif Abulhassan, Ph.D. student at Auburn University

The screening of “A Day’s Work” is free, but registration is required at by Wednesday, April 13. The entire day’s program is $25 and includes a light breakfast and lunch. The research symposium Friday, April 15, is $25 and includes continental breakfast and lunch. Attend both programs for only $45. For more information, visit

  • April 14