Professor, Former US Assistant Secretary of OSHA
Professor Michaels is an epidemiologist with extensive experience in research, regulatory and public policy, and program administration. From 2009 to January 2017, Dr. Michaels served as the United States Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. Appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate, Dr. Michaels was the longest serving Assistant Secretary in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s history.
As Assistant Secretary, Dr. Michaels worked to strengthen the agency’s enforcement in high risk industries, improve OSHA’s whistleblower protection program, promote common sense worker protection programs and standards, expand compliance assistance provided to small employers, and increase outreach to the vulnerable populations who are at greatest risk for work-related injury and illness. He also increased OSHA’s focus and capabilities in the areas of data analysis and program evaluation.
Under his leadership, OSHA issued new health standards protecting workers exposed to silica and beryllium, and new safety regulations on fall protection, confined spaces, cranes and derricks, shipyards and electricity generation and distribution. Dr. Michaels updated OSHA’s injury and illness surveillance and tracking requirements, making workplace amputations and hospitalizations sentimental health events that now must be reported to OSHA.
Since leaving OSHA and returning to academia, much of Dr. Michaels work has been focused on the relationship of operational excellence and workplace safety and health. He has also assisted the safety and health authorities in several countries increase their effectiveness in preventing workplace injuries and illnesses.