On Safety

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Former OSHA administrator Joseph Dear dies

March 7, 2014

Former OSHA administrator Joseph Dear died on Feb. 26. He was 62.

Dear served as OSHA chief during the Clinton administration, holding the post from November 1993 until January 1997. Major OSHA moves that occurred during his years spent as administrator include updated asbestos and fall protection standards, the formal launch of OSHA’s expanded webpage, adoption of the agency’s telephone complaint policy and the publication of the scaffold standard.

Here’s what some people and groups had to say about Dear in response to his passing:

“While he served in many roles throughout his life, Joe was always a tireless advocate for worker safety and health. … He was a bold and forward-thinking leader who embraced innovation, bringing technological advancements to the agency that have revolutionized the way we do our work. … While the world of occupational safety and health has lost a great defender, his legacy will live on for the many years to come. Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones.”
- David Michaels, current OSHA administrator
“For an association like [the American Industrial Hygiene Association], becoming more involved in public policy issues was a tremendous undertaking. However, Joe became a strong supporter of AIHA, recognizing the importance of occupational health and safety professionals’ knowledge and expertise in making advances to protect worker health. There is no doubt that AIHA’s credibility and influence greatly increased because of Joe and his recognition of associations like AIHA.” - AIHA
“We will miss Joe, his passion for excellence in performance, and his sharp wit and humor.” - CalPERS, the Sacramento, CA-based benefits administrator where Dear worked as chief investment officer
“Joe’s advocacy for injured workers will not be forgotten. … The labor movement owes a debt of gratitude to Joe for helping reform our Department of Labor and Industries and keep a state system competitive in a world of rapacious private insurance companies.” - Jeff Johnson, president of the AFL-CIO-affiliated Washington State Labor Council, where Dear worked in the 1980s

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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