House Labor Staffer Picked as Acting OSHA Chief

Jordan Barab, senior labor policy advisor on health and safety issues for the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, has been tapped by Secretary Solis to be deputy assistant secretary for OSHA and acting assistant secretary, effective Monday, the committee's press secretary, Aaron Albright, confirmed this afternoon.

Barab ran a popular safety blog named Confined Space in recent years, and he's a favorite choice to head OSHA for many within the small community of occupational safety bloggers. The Obama administration so far is allied with organized labor, as seen in the selection of California Congresswoman Hilda Solis as secretary of Labor. and with Education and Labor Chairman Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., as seen in President Obama's signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a bill sponsored by Miller that makes it easier for workers to fill pay discrimination cases even if their claims extend back for years.

Miller issued a statement today saying, "I congratulate Jordan for being named as the acting head of OSHA. Jordan will bring a tremendous amount of valuable health and safety experience to an agency that has been neglected for far too long. Throughout his career, Jordan has demonstrated the specialized knowledge of health and safety issues needed to revamp the agency and strengthen its efforts to protect Americans while on the job. I look forward to working with Jordan and Secretary Solis to ensure that the agency works to protect the health and safety of our nation's workers."

Before joining the committee, Barab worked for four years at the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, according to the committee's news release. Barab served as special assistant to the assistant director of Labor for OSHA from 1998 to 2001 and directed the safety and health program for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees from 1982 to 1998. A native of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., he is a 1975 graduate of Claremont McKenna College in California and received a master's degree in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University in 1978.

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