By Brent I. ClarkJames L. CurtisAdam R. YoungA. Scott HeckerPatrick D. Joyce, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: The White House announced on Friday that Douglas L. Parker will be its nominee for the head of federal OSHA.

Mr. Parker previously served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy to the Mine Safety and Health Administration. Mr. Parker also served as a member of the Biden-Harris transition team, where he focused on worker health and safety issues, and has held positions as a senior policy advisor and special assistant at the Department of Labor. An attorney, Mr. Parker previously worked as in-house counsel at a labor union.

Most recently, he has served as the Chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health since 2019. In his tenure at CalOSHA, the Agency has aggressively enforced an overbroad and hastily-issued COVID-19 emergency temporary standard, using COVID-19 as a vehicle to force employers to engage in widespread surveillance testing, and to legislate by regulation progressive priorities on wage and hour issues, far beyond the scope of his agency’s safety and health mission.

We anticipate Mr. Parker will pursue labor union priorities at federal OSHA, in conjunction with recently-confirmed Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, as well as aggressive enforcement on a range of controversial issues. While Mr. Parker may not have an official role in issuing a federal COVID-19 emergency temporary standard (ETS), depending on his nomination process and the timing of any ETS’s promulgation, employers should be aware of CalOSHA’s ETS requirements, including the testing and employee benefits provisions mentioned above.

We are actively tracking whether Mr. Parker’s nomination will raise opposition in the United States Senate.

For more information on this or any related topic, please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.