Yukon man earns National Safety Council’s top award

Claravall serves Oklahoma as child labor officer

Lester Claravall

A Yukon man is among eight people honored with the National Safety Council’s highest award given to safety professionals.

Lester Claravall, child labor officer at the Oklahoma Department of Labor, received the Distinguished Service to Safety Award.

Recipients were honored at the opening session of the 2023 National Safety Council (NSC) Congress & Expo in New Orleans, La. This was the largest annual gathering of safety and health professionals worldwide.

“I’m truly honored to have won this national award for the work being done to keep young workers safe on the job,” Claravall said.

As Oklahoma’s only full-time child labor officer during the past 25-plus years, Claravall has made it his life’s work to protect the nation’s youngest workforce against workplace abuse, exploitation, endangerment, and dangerous jobs.

Candidates for the Distinguished Service to Safety Award were nominated by both the general public and NSC members. They were reviewed by NSC division committees.

The Distinguished Service to Safety Award honors the “unique, individual efforts made by those who value safety above all else,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine Martin said.

“Each honoree has helped make our world a safer place and by honoring their achievements, we can set the bar for what’s possible, and inspire others to pursue our shared goal of eliminating preventable deaths and injuries,” Martin said.

Other safety professionals besides Yukon’s Claravall selected for this recognition were:

  • Joaquin Diaz – environmental health and safety director, SKANSKA USA Building.
  • Michael Ezzell – master trainer and director of safety and compliance, Greater Texas Safety Training.
  • Joe Grabinski – chief environmental safety and health steward, Teamsters Local 1150 (retired), Sikorsky Aircraft-Lockheed Martin.
  • Michelle Garner-Janna – executive director of corporate health, safety and environment (retired), Cummins Inc.
  • Dan Nabors – transportation engineering and operations bureau chief, Arlington County (Virginia).
  • Marcus Simpson – director of Safety, University of North Dakota.
  • Larry Wilson – president/founder, SafeStart International.

The Distinguished Service to Safety Award was first presented in 1942 to recognize individuals and companies who significantly supported U.S. workers during World War II by reducing occupational injuries.