It is with sadness today that I report on the passing of former CSB Board Member Andrea Kidd Taylor, whose commitment to occupational and environmental justice, health and safety throughout her career was inspirational. She passed away after a long illness, and is survived by her husband Dr. Jimmy Taylor and two children, Shomari and Tahira. She was born in Sylacauga, Alabama, and resided for many years in Detroit,Michigan and Baltimore, Maryland. She was 59 years old.
I knew Dr. Kidd Taylor personally, as a professional colleague and a friend for more than 25 years. We worked together on the the governance of the American Public Health Association (APHA) – both of us were elected as leaders of the APHA’s Occupational Health and Safety Section in 1986. She worked also as an Industrial Hygienist at the United Auto Workers (UAW-AFL-CIO) which is the same position in the office of UAW Health and Safety where I worked for five years.
Although she served as a CSB board member prior to my tenure as as CSB Chairperson we spoke extensively about the agency during her tenure. She shared her experience with me as a board member during the early years of the agency’s existence and this was very helpful.
Her reputation as a public health and occupational health and safety advocate is well known and her dedication and talent to all pursuits is something I will always remember her for. I personally had the privilege of listening to a number of her fine musical performances, an opportunity that no one could forget.
Dr. Kidd Taylor was appointed by President Clinton in 1998, the Board’s first full year of operations. She served a five-year term marked by compassion for workers and deep concern for their well being on the job. She believed strongly that many CSB investigations -- particularly an early study on reactive chemicals that she was involved with – showed the need for stronger safety performance and oversight, as called for by the board.
She was not only passionate about her work, but empathetic to those who suffered from tragedies on the job. For instance, she deployed with an investigation team to Kinston, North Carolina, following a massive explosion at West Pharmaceutical Services Company on January 29, 2003. The dust explosion destroyed the plant and caused six deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of job losses. Dr. Kidd Taylor insisted on meeting as many surviving but shaken workers as possible to assure them her agency would find out what happened.
Dr. Kidd Taylor was proud of her work and that of the Board, saying in the history of her time in office, “The Board’s completed investigation reports and safety studies have been widely applauded for their scientific quality, their readability and usability; and the practicality and applicability of the CSB safety recommendations by state governors, legislators, trade associations, companies and emergency responders are well noted.”
Following her CSB term, Dr. Kidd Taylor was a lecturer at the Morgan State University (MSU) School of Community Health and Policy in Baltimore. In 2012, she served on the "Committee on Inherently Safer Chemical Processes: The Use of Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) at Bayer CropScience,” which produced a report by the same name at the request of the CSB, examining the potential for better safety at the plant following a 2008 explosion, which killed two.
Prior to her presidential appointment, she worked as an industrial hygienist for the United Auto Workers in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Kidd Taylor held a Ph.D. in health policy from Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Science in Public Health from the University of Alabama.
She served as an executive board member of the American Public Health Association and as a member of the Beyond Pesticides/National Coalition against the Misuse of Pesticides. She worked on a presidential advisory committee on Gulf War veterans’ illnesses and was a health representative on the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH). She authored many publications including articles that highlighted minority workers, chemical safety and disease and injury prevention. She was selected by her students at Morgan State for a “Golden Apple” awarded for excellence in teaching and advising.
We all at the CSB mourn the passing of this great worker safety advocate.