As in any administration, President Obama will rely on political appointees to formulate and carry out his OSHA policies. Not all of the new President’s key people are currently in place. But one is or soon will be:
Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor
The choice of Ms. Solis, a 41-year-old Democratic Congress person from California, to head the DOL was a popular one among organized labor. In 1994, Ms. Solis became the first woman elected to the California State Senate where she earned a reputation for her work on domestic violence and healthcare issues. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000. If and when she’s confirmed, expect Ms. Solis to promote more active and targeted enforcement of OSHA standards, especially in high risk industries such as meat packing (particularly poultry) and chemical plants.
Who Will Be the Next OSHA Director?
George W. Bush’s OSHA director, the lawyer Edwin Foulke, resigned in November. President Obama has yet to nominate a new OSHA Director. Leading candidates include:
- Peg Seminario, the safety director of the AFL-CIO;
- Dr. John Howard, a physician, professor of environmental and occupational medicine, public health expert and former head of NIOSH (the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health); and
- Michael Silverstein, professor of environmental and occupational health and former OSHA policy director during the Clinton administration.
Until a successor is appointed and confirmed, OSHA will continue to be led by Deputy Director Donald G. Shalhoub, a government attorney.