Governor appoints new Cal/OSHA chief

Sacramento, CA – California’s newly sworn-in governor appointed a new head for the state’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal/OSHA.

In an April 4 announcement, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) tapped Ellen Widess to become the new Cal/OSHA chief. The appointment requires confirmation by the state Senate.

Widess is not new to Cal/OSHA or serving under the Brown administration. When Brown was last governor of California 30 years ago, Widess served at Cal/OSHA as the pesticide program chief from 1978 to 1984. Most recently, she has worked as a self-employed consultant on occupational safety and health and immigration policy. From 2000 to 2010, Widess worked as the senior program officer for the Rosenberg Foundation, and also served as the executive director of Lead Safe California from 1994 to 1998.

Widess replaces Len Welsh, whom former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) appointed in 2007. Welsh had previously served as acting chief of the agency since 2003.

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