The Hearing of Scott Mugno, Nominee for Head of OSHA
The hearing for Scott Mugno, the Trump administration’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Labor, took place on December 5. During this hearing, we got our first glimpse into Mugno’s plans for the agency. It would seem that Mugno will be bringing an era of teamwork to the agency.
“If confirmed, I will work hard every day – side by side with the best safety professionals at America’s ultimate safety department” Mugno said in his opening statement. “A top priority of mine is to lead and facilitate transparent discussions between those safety professionals in our mutual quest to fulfill the goal (of safety).”
Mr. Mugno is the former Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground as well as an OSHA subcommittee chairman for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where he was a regulatory opponent.
His confirmation would put him into a role that has remained vacant for the better part of the last year. Loren Sweatt has served as acting assistant secretary of labor since July 24. Sweatt is OSHA’s deputy assistant secretary of labor.
The hearing had time set aside for Mugno and three other agency nominees so Mugno’s portion was relatively brief. When asked by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) whether FedEx considered OSHA an enemy or friend, Mugno said, “I would always say that they were an ally. … OSHA has much to bring to the table, as well. Granted, they have enforcement powers, which are needed in some cases for other actors.”
Sen. Susan Collins asked Mugno about comments he made at a 2006 U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on who bears the responsibility for workplace safety.
“We’ve got to look harder at the employee,” Mugno was quoted as saying at the event. The Business Insurance report noted that he said workers need to deal with health problems such as obesity. Collins said, “Some people have taken that comment out of context to suggest that you were attributing employee injuries to activities that were off the worksite.”
Mugno clarified his statement: “If safety was a sport, it’s a team sport, and everybody involved in trying to improve safety and health in the workplace has to have skin in the game if you will,” he said, pointing to the use of health and wellness programs.
It would appear that Mugno is looking to take a Behavior-based approach to safety. Only time will truly tell what Mugno’s OSHA will look like but it is safe to say that things will be changing. Now is the time to begin considering how you will handle safety in the new year and what goals you would like to achieve.
For more information on planning for safety in 2018, check out our article.