The U.S. Senate on Monday voted along party lines to confirm California workplace safety chief Doug Parker to lead OSHA. The post was filled for the first time in more than four years by a vote of 50-41.
In remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, reiterated her strong support for Mr. Parker, and stressed that our nation’s workforce depends on having experienced leaders at OSHA who will keep workers safe and help rebuild a stronger and fairer workforce.
In her remarks, Senator Murray highlighted Mr. Parker’s long record as a champion for workplace safety, including his experience as attorney for the United Mine Workers, as a partner at a labor and employment law firm in Washington, DC, and as a senior official at the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. Senator Murray also noted Mr. Parker’s service as Chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, where he worked to protect workers in California throughout the pandemic. Senator Murray emphasized that after a public health crisis which put a spotlight on OSHA’s critical role, we need qualified leaders at the agency to implement safety standards and keep workers protected.
Parker is the first Senate-confirmed director at OSHA since early 2017, when Obama appointee David Michaels stepped down. Loren Sweatt, who was then appointed acting director, served in the role for the entirety of the Trump administration.
Parker is a former workplace safety advocate and union lawyer who has headed California's Division of Occupational Safety (Cal/OSHA) since 2019.