Jennifer Silk, former Deputy Director of Standards and Guidance for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), passed away after a prolonged illness on October 22, 2019.
While at OSHA, Jennifer spearheaded the development of the US OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard, published November 25, 1983, sparking a revolution for the regulatory community. Darlene Susa-Anderson, former SCHC President, recalls her whereabouts when she first learned of the Standard and recounted her appreciation for Jennifer’s patience in answering her questions as a young compliance professional.
SCHC Leaders who worked alongside Jennifer recall her as passionate and humble with a vision for the future of hazard communication, not just in the U.S., but internationally, as she chaired the international coordinating group that managed the development of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) and served as the U.S. expert to the United Nations Subcommittee of Experts on the GHS (UNSCE-GHS) for over a decade. Jennifer is widely respected in the international community and fondly regarded as the mother of Hazard Communication.
In September 1982, Jennifer was the first government member of the American Conference on Chemical Labelling (ACCL) and was instrumental in transitioning the organization to the Society for Chemical Hazard Communication (SCHC). Her dedication and contributions to the field of Hazard Communication were recognized with SCHC’s Lifetime Achievement Award first in 1998 and again in 2003, the only person to receive the award two times.
Other SCHC service highlights include:
Distinguished Lecturer Award – 1990
Director – 1995
Vice-President – 1990 to 1991
President – 1992 to 1993
Past-President – 1994 to 1996
Chair of the Board – 1997 to 2003
Prepared the first SCHC Practices and Procedures to organize and standardize the work that has to be done to plan and conduct the Society’s activities
Co-edited the Hazard Communication Compliance Manual: A Guide to OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (1995)
After retiring from OSHA, Jennifer continued working as a consultant and training advisor to the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). She had a gift for explaining complex requirements in an easy to understand way and regularly shared her knowledge with SCHC Members through numerous meeting presentations and professional development offerings.
Jennifer Silk was instrumental in shaping not only our Society, but obviously the Standard and application of Hazard Communication. Her voice will live on through the regulations we work with and are protected by every day.
In honor of her work to pass legislation to ban puppy mills in Pennsylvania, SCHC has made a donation in Jennifer’s memory to United Against Puppy Mills, a fully volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
Her obituary is posted at https://www.mcdonald-aeberli.com/notices/Jennifer-Silk.
Jennifer C. Silk, age 68, of Valencia, formerly of Washington, D.C., passed away on Tuesday morning, October 22, 2019 at UPMC Passavant Hospital in McCandless Twp.
Born in Montgomery, Alabama on December 30, 1950, she was the daughter of Irene Dziegieleski Silk and the late Thomas Silk.
We will never forget our beloved Jenny! After graduating from St. Francis High School in Hawaii and obtaining a degree in biological heath at Penn State, she had a brilliant career as a health scientist for OSHA in Washington, D.C.
Her love and generosity extended to her family, many dear friends and to all the pets she owned and adopted over the years. She leaves behind Casey, her beloved Schnauzer.
Music, painting, genealogy, gardening, knitting, reading, writing, and photography, contributed to her full and wonderful life. We will love her forever!
Surviving are her mother, Irene Silk of San Antonio, TX., two brothers, John Silk (Cathy) of Franklin, IN and Thomas Silk (Carolyn) of New Braunfels, TX, two nieces, Kristen Eason and Bridget Banta, and three nephews, Jason, Justin and Zachary Silk .
Arrangements are private under the direction of the McDonald-Aeberli Funeral Home, Inc. 238 Crowe Ave. Mars, PA and condolences are available at www.mcdonald-aeberli.com.
To send flowers to Jennifer's family, please visit our floral section.