Worker Health and Safety Program Director

Washington, D.C. Office

Areas of Expertise

Worker Safety and Health


NELP Worker Health and Safety Program Director Debbie Berkowitz has a long record of achievements in the field of occupational safety and health.

Most recently, Debbie served as senior policy adviser for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), after previously serving as OSHA’s chief of staff from 2009 to 2013.

Before joining the public sector, Debbie spent over two decades building and leading worker safety and health programs inside the labor movement and with partner groups. Her past positions include health and safety director of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union and the health and safety director of the Food and Allied Service Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.

Since she joined our team in 2015, Debbie has led NELP’s efforts to strengthen safety and health protections for America’s workers, focusing on improving conditions for low-wage workers, including temporary workers and those in the poultry industry, who often face particularly dangerous and degrading conditions in the course of their employment. Through her work, she has advocated for stronger safety and health standards, improved enforcement, stronger anti-retaliation protections and improvements to the current workers’ compensation system.

Her writing has been published in Quartz, The Hill, Huffington Post, and more, and she is regularly quoted by major news outlets for her expertise on worker safety and health. Debbie is also the recipient of the American Public Health Association’s Alice Hamilton Award.


B.A., Oberlin College

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