Biden appoints California security chief as OSHA head

Dive brief:

  • President Joe Biden announced last week that his candidate for the post of Deputy Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health at the Department of Labor is Douglas L. Parker, the current Head of California’s Occupational Safety and Health Division (Cal / OSHA).
  • Prior to his role with Cal / OSHA, a position he has held since 2019, Parker held a variety of other worker safety roles, including Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Mine Safety and Health Administration at DOL; Senior Policy Advisor and Special Assistant to DOL; and executive director of Worksafe, a legal services provider based in Oakland, California. Parker also worked as a lawyer for the United Mine Workers of America.
  • In his role at Cal / OSHA, Parker oversaw the development and delivery of a temporary emergency COVID-19 standard for the state. California is one of the few states to have its own coronavirus standard, and Biden has federally ordered OSHA assess the need for a national level.

Dive overview:

Douglas parker

Authorization granted by Cal / OSHA

Entrepreneurs can look to President Barack Obama’s administration for clues as to how a Parker-led OSHA might work, lawyer Phillip Russell said with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoke & Stewart, who represents construction industry clients with OSHA citations and other safety concerns.

“Under Parker, OSHA will take over the kind of priorities and strategies that OSHA favored under the Obama administration,” he said. “Like with [David] Michaels next, Parker will use the app of shame and issue press releases when the quotes are released instead of becoming final. Employers should also expect more inspections, more citations, less negotiations and more litigation. “

OSHA’s critics of former President Barack Obama have often called unfair attacks his heavily worded press releases about breaches of employer safety. These press releases continued until the inauguration of former President Donald Trump, when they dropped dramatically.

Parker will also likely take the $ 100 million allocated to the agency in the recent stimulus bill and make new hires at all levels of the OSHA organization, Russell added.

Construction industry executives have also reacted to Parker’s appointment. Greg Sizemore, vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development at Associated Builders and Contractors, said the association hopes OSHA, under the leadership of Parker, will be transparent and engage with the public looking for a meaningful contribution that will help keep the construction workforce. sure.

“ABC relies on OSHA to continue to be a collaborative partner for the entire industry, helping us create the conditions for everyone to complete their jobs without incident and return home safely and in good health. health every day, ”he said.

Brian Turmail. Associated General Contractors of America’s vice president of public affairs and strategic initiatives told Construction Dive that the organization “looks forward to continuing the strong, productive and successful relationship we have enjoyed with the agency under its new leader once it is confirmed.

“Our industry has shown America how to work safely during the pandemic, and we look forward to sharing these lessons with other sectors as we build on the achievements of the past year to build an even stronger industry. safe, ”he said.

In one Press release, the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health welcomed Parker’s appointment, with co-executive director Jessica Martinez adding that the group is “optimistic that [Parker] restore confidence in an agency responsible for implementing and enforcing safety standards during this critical time for American workers and families. “

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