Workplace safety and health law matters usually do not top a new administration’s to-do list. Yet, in an unexpected move, just days after his inauguration, President Trump elevated one of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commissioners to serve as acting chair of the Commission.
The composition of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission does not usually top a new administration’s to-do list in its first days at the White House. Changes to the Commission would normally wait until Cabinet and senior agency officials are in place. Yet, in an unexpected move, just days after his inauguration, President Trump elevated one of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commissioners to serve as acting chair of the Commission.
On January 23rd, Trump appointed Commissioner Heather MacDougall to be the Commission’s new acting chair. The Commission is the appellate body that hears cases involving OSHA citations. After an administrative law judge hears the case, the parties can file an appeal with the Commission and then a federal court of appeals. As a result, the Commission plays an important role in interpreting OSHA regulations and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
MacDougall has spent a career involved in safety, health and employment law matters. She has served on the Commission since April 2014. Prior to that, she worked in private practice representing employers. Earlier, she had worked as chief counsel to the Commission’s then-Chairman W. Scott Railton.
In a statement, Acting Chairman MacDougall, said:
I am deeply honored that President Trump has designated me as Acting Chairman of the Review Commission. Our sole statutory mandate is to serve as an administrative court providing fair and expeditious resolution of disputes involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers charged with violations of Federal safety and health standards, and employees and/or their representatives. I look forward to continuing to serve the President and the American people and working with my colleagues at the Review Commission in this critical task of ensuring that OSHA’s enforcement actions are carried out in accordance with the law and that parties are accorded due process.