Biden nominates Cal/OSHA head to top OSHA position

President Joe Biden has nominated Douglas L. Parker, the current the chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), to be an Assistant Secretary of Labor. If the U.S. Senate approves Parker’s nomination, he’ll be the first chief OSHA has had since Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned in July 15, 2019. A subsequent nominee, Scott Mugno, withdrew from consideration after the U.S. Senate failed to act on his nomination for a year and a half.

Parker, a San Francisco native, previously served in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration, and was a member of the Biden-Harris transition team focused on worker health and safety issues. He also held positions as a senior policy advisor and special assistant at the Department of Labor. He currently serves as chief of California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA), a position he has held since 2019. Prior to his appointment to Cal/OSHA, Parker was executive director of Worksafe, an Oakland, California-based legal services provider.

Before serving in the Obama Administration, Parker was a partner at the law firm Mooney, Green, Saindon, Murphy and Welch, in Washington, DC. He began his legal career as a staff attorney at the United Mine Workers of America. Prior to law school, Parker worked in the private sector as a sales and marketing director, in communications for the Democratic National Committee, and was a staff assistant for the late Senator Paul Wellstone. Parker earned a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.A. in history from James Madison University. He is married and has two daughters. Parker is originally from Bluefield, West Virginia, and grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia.