Mining Feature: Mining Researcher Named a Finalist for "Sammies" Medal

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Dr. Emily J. Haas
Dr. Emily J. Haas

The Partnership for Public Service recently announced that Emily J. Haas, Ph.D., is a finalist for a 2019 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal — commonly known as a "Sammie" — in the Safety and Law Enforcement category.

Please consider supporting her for the Sammies People's Choice Award, which is chosen by popular vote. She is one of only 4 remaining finalists for the special category, and supporters can vote once a day from any device through July 8.

Dr. Haas is an internationally recognized behavioral scientist whose work in safety culture and health and safety management systems has directly contributed to preventing occupational illnesses and injuries in the mining industry.

In two years’ time (from 2016 to 2018), she conducted field research involving nearly 2,700 mine workers at 40 different mines in 17 states and internationally that resulted in mine companies tailoring their health and safety management methods and processes to better prepare their workers, improve worker performance, and reduce incidents.

Her work informed—and continues to inform—the industry about what risk management practices are important for mine worker health and safety performance and how those practices can be developed, implemented, and maintained over time as part of a continuous organizational process within a site's respective health and safety management system.

Not only did Dr. Haas interact and impact the safety culture of 2,700 workers, due to her efforts, one company’s revised annual safety training now includes modules on worker participation, coworker communication, and leadership and developed risk tolerance modules that were distributed via YouTube. Those videos have reached 24,100 employees across more than 1,300 operations in 44 states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada. Several construction companies also link to these videos from their websites, so her work is having impact beyond the mining industry.

In addition to her work on safety culture, Dr. Haas led a cooperative behavioral and engineering intervention to reduce respirable dust exposure in the industrial minerals and metal/non-metal industry, which employs about 58,100 workers. Dr. Haas added a new dimension - behavioral interventions - to previous dust control approaches. She identified quick, economic controls that reduced personal dust exposure up to 92% after making behavioral changes and up to 99% after making organizational changes to equipment. The impact of this work earned Dr. Haas international recognition. It also spurred additional collaborative efforts in human and technology integration at her workplace.

Dr. Haas’ findings, recommendations, and solutions are accepted as authoritative by government, industry, and labor groups. She is an active member of several industry mine safety committees and organizations, including the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME), where she was recently nominated as a Communications Chair for the Health and Safety Division. In 2017, Dr. Haas was awarded the prestigious 2017 Arthur S. Flemming Award for excellence in social science, clinical trials, and translational research, recognizing her superior leadership skills.

Dr. Haas has written 50 publications, 39 of which as the lead author. She also published a textbook about using qualitative methodology in applied research settings and has given 68 presentations, including plenaries and continuing education classes in the U.S. and abroad. She’s regularly called upon by colleagues for feedback on their qualitative research designs, questionnaires, and data analysis plans.

The Sammies are awarded annually by the Partnership for Public Service—a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and strengthening civil service—after a vigorous process that selects one winner in each of eight categories: Management Excellence, Science and Environment, National Security and International Affairs, Promising Innovations, Safety and Law Enforcement, Career Achievement, People’s Choice Award, and the Federal Employee of the Year.

Medal recipients will be announced and honored on October 16 during a gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C.

Page last reviewed: May 13, 2019
Page last updated: May 13, 2019