President Biden has nominated James S. Frederick to run the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Frederick, a workplace safety advocate who worked for the United Steelworkers (USW) for more than two decades, will become the deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.
In a statement announcing the nomination, USW President Tom Conway said,“There is no stronger advocate for worker safety in this country than Jim Frederick. He brings to OSHA not just a deep commitment to safer workplaces for all Americans, but the expertise and experience to get the job done right.”
Frederick will be tasked with righting the safety and health arm of the Department of Labor amid a global pandemic that has killed more than 400,000 Americans. As deputy assistant secretary, Frederick will assist President Biden in fulfilling his campaign promises to enact standards to protect essential workers and those who have been called back to the job.
As part of his effort to protect workers, President Biden signed an Executive Order calling on OSHA to consider an emergency temporary standard — a declaration that would legally require employers to provide uniform protections, such as an exposure control plan, protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and job protection for workers who fall ill.
The order requires OSHA to “immediately release clear guidance for employers to help keep workers safe from COVID-19 exposure” and directs OSHA to “enforce worker health and safety requirements, targeting the worst violators.”
Labor leaders applauded the Order. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that President Biden was “clearly prioritizing strong COVID-19 protections for working people” by issuing his “overdue and desperately needed” Executive Order. ■