Under the Biden administration, there will be sweeping changes to OSHA, including to the people that run OSHA and the direction that they take the Administration. With former Boston Mayor and union leader Marty Walsh tapped to lead the Department of Labor, it is clear that OSHA will be pushing a pro-union agenda, while at the same time continuing the trajectory of OSHA under the Obama Administration—namely, more regulations, more inspections, more citations, and increased fines and citation classifications. This is further evidenced by the team Walsh has put in charge of OSHA. Below is a brief summary of that team and their experience.

James Frederick, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

For thirty years, James Frederick has worked as an advocate for North American labor unions, providing occupational health and safety leadership and acting as a resource to workers, employers, and regulatory agencies. For twenty-five years, until 2019, Frederick served as the Assistant Director and Principal Investigator for the Health, Safety and Environment Department of the United Steelworkers Union (USW). While in this role, he provided technical guidance to the USW and other unions on occupational health, safety, and the environment. He worked on projects to improve workplace health and safety while working closely with the USW’s counterparts and other organizations worldwide.

Joseph Hughes, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Pandemic and Emergency Response

Joseph Hughes has worked for forty years in both the private and public sectors developing environmental and occupational health education programs for workers and citizens in high-risk occupations and communities. For more than thirty years, Hughes served as director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program. He led the program’s efforts to develop model safety and health training programs for hazardous substance response workers. He has been involved in many federal responses to natural disasters and emergencies, including the World Trade Center attacks, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Hurricane Katrina, Ebola, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ann Rosenthal, Senior Advisor

Rosenthal is an attorney and has served as Associate Solicitor for Occupational Safety and Health for the United States Department of Labor until her retirement in 2018. She also served for both the Occupational Safety and Health division and the Mine Safety and Health division of the Office of the Solicitor as Deputy Associate Solicitor and as Counsel for Appellate Litigation. As counsel for appellate litigation, Rosenthal supervised OSHA and MSHA litigation in the appellate court and other administrative appellate bodies.

Employers should start preparing for the new regulations and the eventual OSHA inspection—both of which are inevitable with the new team installed to run OSHA. For help with OSHA matters, please call (312) 894-3322 or fill out our contact form.