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New OSHRC chairman sworn in

James Sullivan

James Sullivan has been sworn in as chairman of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Mr. Sullivan, who was unanimously confirmed to the review commission by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 3, 2017, was elevated to chairman by President Donald Trump on Friday, filling the seat previously held by former Chairman Heather MacDougall, according to a statement by the review commission issued on Monday. Ms. MacDougall announced her resignation from the review commission in March.

Prior to joining the review commission, Mr. Sullivan was a shareholder with Cozen O'Connor focusing on labor and employment law and workplace safety and health matters. He was formerly the management co-chair of the American Bar Association Committee on Occupational Safety and Health Law, a partner at Pepper Hamilton LLP and a shareholder at Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney P.C. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Sullivan served as vice president of labor and employment law and deputy general counsel for Comcast.

The review commission, which is an independent agency tasked to examine challenges to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration citations and penalties, remains understaffed at the top level, following Ms. MacDougall’s resignation and Cynthia Attwood’s term expiration earlier this year. In major decisions prior to their departures, the review commission sent clear signals that federal workplace safety regulators should adopt standards to address heat stress risks and workplace violence in the health care and social services sector rather than relying on the general duty clause to cite employers, but did not broadly strike down the agency’s ability to use the clause in two recent decisions.



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