Douglas L. Parker Nominated by U.S. President Biden for Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health

As head of Cal-OSHA, California’s workplace safety organization, Douglas Parker was responsible for implementing and enforcing that state’s emergency temporary standard to protect workers from COVID.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Douglas L. Parker for Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, Department of Labor. Parker, as the director of Cal-OSHA, California’s workplace safety agency, directed that state’s efforts to implement an emergency workplace COVID standard. The Biden administration continues to weigh whether or not it should issue an emergency temporary standard that includes Covid-19-related workplace safety regulations.

Parker, of San Francisco, Calif., previously served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration and was a member of the Biden-Harris transition team focused on worker health and safety issues. He also held positions as a senior policy advisor and special assistant at the Department … Read more...

Don’t Use COVID-19 as Excuse for OSHA Non-Compliance: Legal Experts

When it comes to recordkeeping, the hardest questions employers are grappling with are whether an incident is recordable or not, and whether it is work-related.

Employers who try to use the pandemic as an excuse for non-compliance with OSHA regulations can expect no mercy from the agency and will still face hefty fines and penalties, according to legal experts.

During a recent webinar hosted by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), Todd Logsdon, partner at Fisher & Phillips LLP, and Barry Spurlock, practicing attorney and associate professor at Eastern Kentucky University, offered these and other insights into common questions they have received around how OSHA regulations may or may not have changed in the new COVID landscape. Here is a summary of their observations on a number of top-of-mind topics.

Training During COVID

Many organizations are wondering how to proceed with required training while operating under the onerous restrictions … Read more...

Expert Connect Explores OSHA under the Biden Administration: Compliance, Enforcement, Collaboration or All Three?

What does OSHA under the Biden administration look like? Read what Scott has to say and learn more from our experts on April 7th’s Expert Connect.

With new leadership at the U.S. Department of Labor and OSHA and the Biden administration signaling a return to more regulatory and compliance oversight, our panel of experts have been invited to explore how enforcement and regulatory action might change and what EHS professionals should be doing to prepare.

Join us on April 7th from 10:00–10:45 am EDT “OSHA under Biden.” Our panelists include Scott Gaddis, Vice President, Global Practice Leader—Safety & Health, Intelex, Travis Vance, Partner, Fisher & Phillips LLP and Jennifer Debias, Director of Business Development – North America, RegScan. Our moderator is Jonna Pedersen, Senior Manager, Customer Success, Intelex.

Scott recently sat down to answer some questions about the OSHA Under Biden session. Here’s what he had to say:… Read more...

OSHA to Ramp Up COVID-19 Enforcement Under Biden: Law Firm

OSHA COVID-19 Rules

Under the new Joe Biden administration, OSHA will take a more aggressive approach to regulation enforcement and will quickly step up measures to combat the effects of COVID-19 in the workplace, according to a health and safety-focused law firm.

Lawyers at Conn Maciel Carey made these and other OSHA-related predictions in a webinar that took stock of the agency’s recent past under the outgoing Donald Trump Republicans and looked ahead to what 2021 will look like under Biden’s Democrats.

During the pandemic, OSHA’s enforcement efforts have tended to concentrate on a select few types of citations, asserted partner Kate McMahon. These have largely been healthcare-oriented, with less emphasis on manufacturing-related wrongdoing. Biden’s OSHA will broaden that scope, both by industry and by citation type, using a few well-known methods at its disposal, she said.

“The general duty clause is an available tool that we think the Biden administration may use … Read more...

President Biden Installs Two Deputy Assistant Secretaries at Workplace Safety and Health Agency to Jump-Start Agenda

Deputy Assistant Secretaries

(Reposted with permission from the GT Alert newsletter from the law firm of Greenberg Traurig.)

On Jan. 19, 2020, the day before President Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, his transition team announced that James Frederick will be appointed deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, a non-Senate confirmed position. In this role, Mr. Frederick will run the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) until President Biden nominates someone for assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health and the Senate confirms the nominee.

Since September 2019, Mr. Frederick has been a part-time consultant for ORC HSE Strategies, LLC, where he provided member employers with, among other things, advice on and assistance with regulatory and legislative matters and assessment and integration of health and safety management systems. Before that, he was assistant director of the Health, Safety & … Read more...

U.S. President Joe Biden Directs OSHA to Explore Temporary Standard to Protect Workers from COVID-19

OSHA Temporary Standard COVID-19

On his first full day in the Oval Office, U.S. President Joe Biden on Jan. 21, 2021 signed a number of executive orders, among them, the Executive Order on Protecting Worker Health and Safety.

The order states that “Ensuring the health and safety of workers is a national priority and a moral imperative. Healthcare workers and other essential workers, many of whom are people of color and immigrants, have put their lives on the line during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. It is the policy of my Administration to protect the health and safety of workers from COVID-19.”

The National Safety Council (NSC) issued a statement saying it applauded President Biden for the executive order directing OSHA to determine whether an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) is necessary to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19.

“In the last 10 months, employers have operated without a national guideline that provides a uniform level … Read more...

4 OSHA Issues to Follow in Early 2021

OSHA Developments in 2021

James Thornton, chair of the Government Affairs Committee of the American Society of Safety Professionals, offers his view of the issues facing the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 2021, including agency leadership and reinvigorated standards activity.

(This blog is reprinted with permission from the American Society of Safety Professionals.)

It would be fascinating to travel into the future and see what history will say about 2020. As the year closed out, we all had experienced life-altering events that will be forever etched in our memories. Time will determine the impact of these events, but certainly “new normals” have and will be formed. Virtually every facet of our lives has changed – socially, financially and professionally.

The same is true of occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals. Throughout our careers, we have used our education and skills to help workers return safely to their families at the end … Read more...

OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Directive: Full Inspections Only in Cases of Elevated Injury and Illness Experience

Updated OSHA Inspection Program

With the end-goal of utilizing limited enforcement resources to target workplaces with elevated injury and illness incidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced updates to its site-specific targeting program. The Site-Specific Targeting (SST) Directive takes the place of Site-Specific Targeting 2016, and focuses on non-construction organizations with a minimum of 20 employees.

The changes to the inspection program are as follows:

  1. The creation of a new targeting category for establishments indicating consistent injury and illness rate increases over the three-year data collection period, and
  2. Permits records-only inspections to be carried out when a compliance officer discovers that an organization was included in the program due to error. In these instances, a complete inspection will only be carried out when it has been determined that the reported number of injury and illnesses have increased.

With this in mind, it is important for organizations to focus on developing a … Read more...

How Much Will the Election Results Influence OSHA?

OSHA Election Results

OSHA will take one of two very different approaches to health and safety rulemaking and enforcement over the next four years, depending on who emerges victorious in November’s U.S. Presidential election. A recent webinar explored how those visions differ and hypothesized what tangible effects either a Joe Biden or Donald Trump victory will have on the agency.


The Pandemic Priority


Regardless of who wins, OSHA’s key focus will invariably be on managing the current COVID-19, pandemic, asserted Kate McMahon, partner at Conn Maciel Carey, the Washington, D.C. law firm focused on labor and employment, workplace safety and litigation that hosted the webinar. However, the form that management will take will look significantly different depending on who prevails at the polls. If it’s Biden, it is highly likely his administration will issue a federal-level Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) within its first 100 days.

“It will codify and make mandatory a lot … Read more...

Making Worker and Pedestrian Safety a High Priority: Guidelines to Use When Developing a Robust Walking-Working Surfaces Program

As the saying goes: “Safety isn’t expensive, it’s priceless.”

Falls on level – slips, trips and falls – can be some of the most debilitating and expensive injuries workers can suffer and contribute to a surprising number of worker deaths each year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that “on average, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year.” As such, it’s become increasingly clear that this requires attention as well as improved practices and programs.

OSHA’s Standards and Recommended Practices


Designed to protect workers from injuries caused by problematic walking-working surfaces, OSHA updated its existing standards in 2017 and now include training and stricter risk mitigation practices and procedures (e.g. more inspections). Organizations ultimately are responsible for ensuring that they develop walking-working surfaces programs.

Effective Walking-Working Surface Programs: Insights and Tactical Recommendations by Industry Experts


With over 25 years of experience under his belt, Scott Gaddis, … Read more...