Steven Sauter, James P. Keogh Award 2007
Dr. Steven Sauter has had a remarkable and unique impact on the field of occupational safety and health through his tireless and dedicated efforts to integrate the behavioral sciences into the mainstream of research and practice aimed at reducing injury and promoting worker well being.
Dr. Sauter was the NIOSH chair of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Organization of Work Team during the first ten years of NORA, and was the principle force behind the development of a national organization of work research agenda and the growth in the prominence of organization of work in the occupational health research community.
He has always had a strong appreciation of the full cycle of research, from exploratory and etiologic research to implementation and evaluation of practical solutions in the workplace. He has overseen a coordinated program of research on organization of work and musculoskeletal disorders for the past 14 years, which has had demonstrable effects on reducing risks to workers. For example, his first project in NIOSH was a study of rest break scheduling in “light, repetitive work.” After conducting controlled laboratory studies, the results were used as a basis for a series of frequent rest break interventions conducted at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sites which demonstrated the ease of application of the rest break intervention as well as its effectiveness. The frequent rest schedule was subsequently adopted by the IRS sites where it had been tested.
Dr. Sauter has edited several influential books, many of which are used as textbooks in universities in both the U.S. and Europe. He is a visionary in the work organization field, with a gift for identifying emerging issues of importance such as long hours of work and health disparities. He also has made great contributions through leadership in developing and promoting occupational health psychology as an academic discipline and applied research field. His collaboration with the American Psychological Association (APA) resulted in the creation of a new specialty within Psychology to meet the growing demands for a national reservoir of researchers and practitioners able to address organization of work issues. In addition, he promoted the formation of the Society for Occupational Health Psychology that was recently chartered through Portland State University, and has worked with the international community to foster coordination with sister organizations. As a result of these efforts, five international NIOSH/APA conferences have taken place since 1990. Through collaboration with APA, he also founded the Journal of Occupational Psychology.
During his career, Dr. Sauter’s research activities have impacted workplaces and workers alike. He is presented with the Keogh Award for his exemplary accomplishments, impact, and influence.