Federal agencies Leadership

President Trump nominates Scott Mugno to head OSHA

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Photo: FedEx

Washington – President Donald Trump on Oct. 27 nominated Scott Mugno, vice president of safety, sustainability and vehicle maintenance at FedEx Ground, to lead OSHA as the assistant secretary of labor.

If confirmed, Mugno would take over from Loren Sweatt, who has served as acting assistant secretary of labor since July 24. Sweatt is the agency’s deputy assistant secretary of labor and President Trump’s first OSHA appointee.

Mugno has worked at FedEx since August 1994, joining the company as a senior attorney. From February 2000 to December 2011, he was managing director of corporate safety, health and fire prevention until his promotion to vice president.

In his most recent role at FedEx, Mugno was in charge of “developing, promoting and facilitating the safety and health program and culture,” a press release from the White House states.

Sweatt’s predecessor, Jordan Barab, on his "Confined Space" blog, wrote that “Mugno is clearly knowledgeable about safety and health, although he has a few upsetting notions.”

Barab points to a 2006 article in Business Insurance that reported on an event at which Mugno, the current OSHA subcommittee chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Labor Relations Committee, said, “We’ve got to free OSHA from its own statutory and regulatory handcuffs.” The report also notes that Mugno said some of the agency’s regulations should have a fixed time period until discontinuation – known as sunset provisions. The Chamber of Commerce is a noted regulatory opponent and filed suit against OSHA’s Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses final rule in January.

“There is currently nothing in the law that allows standards to be sunsetted, unless OSHA goes through a regulatory process determining whether they are still needed or not,” Barab wrote.

Mugno also has served on a number of American Trucking Associations committees and is the chairman of the American Transportation Research Institute’s Research Advisory Committee. ATA congratulated Mugno on his nomination in an Oct. 27 press release. “Scott is a very familiar face to ATA, having been a longtime and active member in our organization,” ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said in the release. “Throughout that whole time, he has been a strong and committed voice for safety and responsibility. He is an outstanding choice to lead OSHA, and I look forward to working with him after his swift confirmation.”

Advocacy group National Council for Occupational Safety and Health urged a “rigorous and thorough” review of Mugno’s nomination in an Oct. 30 press release. Mugno’s next formal chance to meet senators likely will come when he appears before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At press time, no hearing had been scheduled.

The HELP Committee then would vote on sending Mugno’s nomination to the full Senate for confirmation. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the HELP Committee, said she wants to know how Mugno will protect workers.

“Given President Trump’s unrelenting commitment to undermining worker protections and making it easier for corporations to take advantage of workers, it is critical that OSHA remains committed to enforcing health and safety standards – and punishing corporations who put their employees’ lives at risk,” Murray said in an Oct. 31 press release. “Mr. Mugno has spent his career working for big business, so I look forward to hearing how he plans to stand up for workers and continue OSHA’s active role in deterring corporations from endangering workers’ health and safety.”

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