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Biden taps Jim Frederick for acting head of OSHA, deputy assistant secretary

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Washington — President Joe Biden has appointed Jim Frederick OSHA’s acting administrator and the agency’s deputy assistant secretary.

Most recently, Frederick worked as a senior consultant with ORC HSE Strategies, a National Safety Council workplace safety group. He previously served as assistant director and principal investigator for the United Steelworkers’ health, safety and environment department from 1994 to 2019.

“His dedication to protecting workers makes him a superb choice to lead OSHA at a critical moment,” a Jan. 20 statement from NSC reads. “COVID-19 has been the single largest workplace safety issue of a generation. Our country needs thoughtful leadership to help employers navigate the remainder of the pandemic and effectively restore our economy. Deputy Assistant Secretary Frederick will provide such guidance.”

Frederick has also worked with the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors, the ANSI Z10 Standard Committee and the OSHA Metal Working Fluids Standard Advisory Committee, among other groups.

OSHA’s former highest-ranking official, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt, stepped down before Biden’s inauguration Jan. 20, according to the agency’s website. Sweatt served as acting assistant labor secretary from August 2017 to March 2019.

Amanda Edens, a longtime OSHA official and deputy assistant secretary, was OSHA’s highest-ranking official when Biden was inaugurated. OSHA hasn’t had a permanent, Senate-confirmed assistant labor secretary since David Michaels resigned at the end of the Obama administration in January 2017.

 

Biden also has appointed Joseph Hughes Jr. as OSHA’s deputy assistant secretary for pandemic and emergency response. Hughes was the branch chief of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Worker Education and Training Branch.

He’ll likely help lead OSHA’s effort to issue an emergency temporary standard related to COVID-19. That ETS could result in the publication of an infectious diseases standard, which OSHA has been working on for more than a decade. Work on an infectious diseases standard was deemed a “long-term action” in the Trump administration’s final regulatory agenda.

Biden, on his first day in office, officially nominated Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) for labor secretary.

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