Biden Taps Chief of Cal-OSHA to Head Federal OSHA

By Patrick Miller 

On April 9, 2021, President Biden nominated Doug Parker to lead the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Mr. Parker has served as chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal-OSHA) since September 2019. Prior to that, he served for three years as the director of Worksafe: Safety Health & Justice for Workers, a California-based, nonprofit advocacy organization. He also served in the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration under President Obama. Prior to his service in government, Mr. Parker practiced law in private practice and as a staff attorney for the United Mineworkers of America.

California is one of the states that issued an emergency COVID-19 standard (ETS) at the height of the pandemic. Mr. Parker’s nomination likely will serve to advance the timeframe of OSHA’s issuance of its own ETS, a process that has languished despite President Biden’s January Executive Order requiring the Agency to look into the matter. Mr. Parker’s nomination also signals another shift toward a more enforcement-focused OSHA.

Mr. Parker’s nomination will require Senate approval.