Rick Engler was nominated by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in January of 2014 and confirmed by the Senate in December 2014. Before his appointment, Mr. Engler spent more than four decades helping to prevent chemical hazards. Much of his work has focused on ensuring that workers and the public have a “right to know” about the potential chemical dangers they may be exposed to on the job and in the community and that government agencies operate transparently. He has advocated for successful landmark state and national public policies that promote hazard communication, workforce development, chemical incident prevention, inherently safer processes, and whistleblower protection. Among these policies are the New Jersey Worker and Community Right to Know and Toxic Catastrophe laws and the national 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that enable both management and worker representatives to fully participate during Environmental Protection Agency and Chemical Safety Board investigations of facilities that use highly hazardous chemicals.
Mr. Engler was founder and Director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council (WEC), a collaboration of labor, community, and environmental organizations working for safe, secure jobs and a healthy, sustainable environment. He founded the Philadelphia Area Project on Occupational Safety and Health and served as an elected Vice President of the NJ Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO. Mr. Engler served on the NJ Department of Health Occupational Health Surveillance Advisory Committee. He has been a leader in collaborative labor-management-community initiatives to help investigate and prevent chemical incidents.