Celeste Monforton, DrPH, MPH is an assistant research professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health's Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, and one of the occupational health and safety field’s most prolific bloggers, posting almost daily at The Pump Handle. She worked for David Michaels at George Washington University before he was confirmed as head of OSHA in December 2009, and recently posted this commentary regarding her former boss:

“Now that he's heading OSHA, Michaels is doing what we'd expect him to do…

“Stronger Enforcement: Some Employers Need Incentives to Do the Right Thing

“Ensure Workers Have a Voice

“Refocus and Strengthen Compliance Assistance Programs

“Change Workplace Culture: Employers Must "Find and Fix" Workplace Hazards

Develop lnnovative Approaches to Addressing New (and Old) Hazards: Improve Intra-Agency Collaboration

Improve and Modernize Workplace Injury and Illness Tracking: Strengthen our Focus on Accurate Recordkeeping

Strengthen OSHA's Use of Science

Strengthen State OSHA Plans

Conduct Our Work with Transparency, Openness, Integrity and Humility

Writes Montforton: “He hasn't stopped pointing out the barriers OSHA faces - just last month, his testimony before the House Education and Labor Committee emphasized the small size of OSHA maximum penalties compared to those that EPA and other agencies can issue. For instance, a sulfuric-acid tank explosion at a Delaware oil refinery killed worker Jeff Davis, but the OSHA penalty was just $175,000; for the same incident, EPA assessed a $10 million penalty under the Clean Water Act.”

Excerpting from Michaels’s letter to OSHA employees “OSHA at Forty,” Montforton pointed to “a few concrete commitments that we can use to monitor OSHA's progress, including statements that OSHA will:

“Hire additional compliance officers and shift others from compliance assistance to enforcements

“Issue hard-hitting press releases explaining why a particular employer was cited, as part of a "regulation by shaming" effort

“Develop a proposed rule mandating workplace injury and illness prevention programs (they've begun stakeholder meetings to do this)

“Propose new regulations "to bring OSHA's reporting requirements into the 21st century" (this will be under the leadership of the Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis)