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‘Pretty humbling’: Four people receive Distinguished Service to Safety Award


Even as he received the National Safety Council’s highest individual accolade, Bob McCall reflexively reflected on his peers.

McCall, director of safety at Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania, has long viewed the profession as collaborative. So, being honored Monday with a Distinguished Service to Safety Award during the Opening Session of the 2022 NSC Safety Congress & Expo felt somewhat surreal.

“I don’t know that in safety we’re real good at being recognized individually because it’s such a group effort with everything. We rely so much on each other in our network. I always say, ‘I don’t know everything, but I know somebody who knows something that I don’t know, so I can always give them a call and find out answers to questions and solutions to problems.’ I don’t do anything by myself, so winning an individual award is pretty humbling, I think.”

McCall was among four safety professionals recognized at the San Diego Convention Center, joining fellow DSSA recipients:

Pat Cunningham
Environmental Leader
Cummins Inc.

Peter Hancock
University of Central Florida Department of Psychology

Donna Siegfried
Senior Director, First Aid and Emergency Preparedness (retired)
National Safety Council

The council first presented the Distinguished Service to Safety Award in 1942 to recognize companies and individuals who worked to reduce occupational injuries.

“The prestigious Distinguished Service to Safety Awards have been part of NSC tradition for 80 years, honoring the unique, individual efforts made by those who value safety above all else,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin said. “Whether pioneering safety research or advancing best practices in the workplace, each honoree has helped make our world a safer place.”

McCall remembers traveling to the Safety Congress & Expo for the first time in the 1970s with his father, Bob, who worked at Master Builders’ Association of Western Pennsylvania for three decades before retiring in the 1990s.

“I’ve been coming to Congress for 50 years now,” McCall said, “but not always as an attendee. Sometimes as just a kid in the pool at the hotel.”

Hancock, a British-American research scientist who now specializes in ergonomics, has authored more than 700 articles and over 20 books on various safety topics. He earned one of the first accredited master’s degrees in safety science in the United States, from the University of Southern California, and taught aviation safety to military pilots early in his career before pivoting to ground transportation safety, and later, general systems safety.

“We’ve still got a ways to go, but I’ve seen an increase in the sophistication in safety research and safety applications across 40 years that I think pretty much would stagger [the work of pioneers in the field],” Hancock said. “I think we’ve made great strides and set ourselves up to make some more in the future.”

Cunningham has done extensive work in the field contractor management sphere.

“His passion for safety is contagious, and he manages to build and grow support and involvement, taking others along with him, and in doing so, raising the level of safety knowledge, work practices and commitment to safety within all companies,” Elaine Beitler, chair of the NSC board of directors, said in a press release.

Siegfried, who recently retired from NSC after a 45-year career, launched the council’s First Aid Institute in 1990. Robb Rehberg, former director of first aid training and program development at the nonprofit, estimates that NSC first aid rescuers since have saved more than 35,000 lives, as council programs have assisted more than 12,000 instructors and 2,500 training centers worldwide.

“Anyone who completes a first aid or CPR course today, regardless of what organization has offered it, has Donna to thank,” Rehberg said.

– Kevin Druley, reporting from San Diego

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