Biden taps California workplace safety leader to head up OSHA

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The White House on Friday said President Biden will nominate Doug Parker, the chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, to head up the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Parker’s nomination comes as OSHA finds itself in the middle of the debate over whether the White House should issue an emergency temporary standard for workplace protections against the coronavirus.

Biden had initially given his Labor Department a March 15 deadline to determine if such a standard was needed, but Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said this week that his agency needs more time to make a decision.

Before leading California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, Parker worked at the Mine Safety and Health Administration during the Obama administration. Before joining the government, Parker was a partner at the law firm Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy and Welch, in Washington.

Biden during the presidential campaign ran as a staunch ally of workers and unions and expressed openness to an emergency standard.

Calls for such a rule got a boost in March when the Labor Department’s internal watchdog released a report recommending OSHA make such a declaration.

“Given the increase in complaints, OSHA’s reduction in total inspections, and its significant reduction in in onsite inspections, there is an increased risk that OSHA has not been providing the level of protection that workers need at various job sites,” the report said. “While remote inspections might help mitigate potential transmission of Covid-19, a reduction of on-site inspections could result in more work-site accidents, injuries, deaths or employee illnesses.”

Tags Joe Biden Marty Walsh Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

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