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Trump's OSHA Pick Talks Teamwork at Hearing

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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Scott Mugno, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as assistant secretary of labor, got through his confirmation hearing last week by emphasizing teamwork and clarifying statements he has made in the past.

About Mugno

Mugno is currently the Vice President for Safety, Sustainability and Vehicle Maintenance at FedEx Ground, located just outside of Pittsburgh.

A New York native, Mugno joined FedEx in 1994 first as a senior attorney for domestic regulatory affairs. From there, he became managing director of corporate safety, health and fire prevention for FedEx Express in 2000. In 2011, he was promoted to FedEx Ground.

At FedEx, Mugno leads four departments and approximately 200 professionals that focus on creating “a safe work environment” for the company’s 95,000 members. Mugno was twice awarded FedEx’s highest honor, the FedEx Five Star Award, for his safety leadership at FedEx Express, according to the White House announcement.

Mugno graduated from Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas, and St. John’s University in Jamaica, New York.

He is also served on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce OSHA subcommittee and serves on the American Bar Association, American Trucking Associations and National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

“In the safety profession, there is no higher calling and few higher positions than this one,” Mugno said during the hearing. “The opportunity to fulfill OSHA’s mission to assure safe and healthful working conditions for all working men and women is an honor and noble work.”

Past Comments

At a 2006 U.S. Chamber of Commerce discussion, Mugno was quoted as saying safety should start consistently with employees while noting that some current regulations have reached their limit.

"We've got to free OSHA from its own statutory and regulatory handcuffs," said Mugno. Business Insurance reported at the time that Mugno also suggested sunsetting regulations.

However, Mugno was not asked about those specific comments during his two-and-a-half-hour hearing, but he was asked about different comments recorded at the same event.

“We’ve got to look harder at the employee,” Mugno was quoted as saying at the time by Business Insurance, which noted that he said workers need to deal with health problems such as obesity.

At the hearing, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) 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.”

To which Mugno clarified: “What I meant in that comment has only proven to be even more true as the years have passed since then. 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.”

Safety + Health reported that Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington) also brought up Mugno’s history of suing to overturn several OSHA regulations as well as multiple comments he submitted opposing regulations while with the Chamber of Commerce.

“The list goes on,” Murray said, and then asked, “Can you name a single rule proposed by OSHA that during your career you support in order to enhance worker safety?”

Ed Brown, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Scott Mugno, President Donald J. Trump’s nominee to lead the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as assistant secretary of labor, got through his confirmation hearing last week by emphasizing teamwork and clarifying statements he has made in his past.

While Mugno did not detail is support for any specific regulation, he noted that there were plenty of regulations that he did not submit comments on, indicated there were no objections.

His Stances

“If confirmed, I will work very hard every day side by side with the best safety professionals at America’s ultimate safety department,” Mugno said in his opening statement. “The discussions or debates on how to reach that goal (of safety) can, at times, lead some to believe one side or another doesn’t believe in the goal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

”A top priority of mine is to lead and facilitate transparent discussions between those safety professionals in our mutual quest to fulfill the goal.”

While was not asked his opinion on hot-button issues such as OSHA’s injury recordkeeping rule or silica rule, he was asked about his opinion on reinstituting the issuance of public press releases of major violations.

“I do agree that communications of these type of events has an advantage in others knowing what’s happening out there, so I think that’s why this is critical, to find out what the right criteria is,” he said.

He was also asked if he would commit to penalties such as jail time for willful violations.

“If the circumstances are right, the elements are met and in consultation with the Solicitor’s office at the Department of Justice, yes,” he said. “And I have talked to the secretary about that, and I know he feels the same way under those circumstances.”

Mugno also made a hard commitment to expand the Voluntary Protection Program, a bill for which was recently introduced.

The program focuses on employers who have implemented their own effective safety management systems, judged by maintain injury and illness rates below the national average.

“The opportunity to expand the Voluntary Protection Program (and) other compliance systems that expand the knowledge about compliance with OSHA’s regulations, as well as just improving safety and health in workplace, is an excellent way to expand OSHA’s mission,” Mugno said. “It should not be viewed as mutually exclusive from the other tools in the toolbox such as enforcement and standard setting.”

   

Tagged categories: Department of Labor; Government; OSHA; President Trump

Comment from Robert Bullard, (12/14/2017, 9:19 AM)

Does Mugno understand the nation's construction industry with respect to safety? It is far more complex and lacking in formal 'corporate' risk management from the top down than a rather stable and organizationally well established service industry like FedEx or its competitors. I have been in the construction industry for over 40 years; OSHA is completely lacking in its ability to deal with its fundamental worker safety issues in the feast or famine, in and out of business, mom and pop, up and down, significantly unlicensed, etc. construction industry. If Mugno does not have his finger on what I have just written, then he needs to have directly under him someone who does and has the authority to correct or manage what I witness almost every day on a construction site.


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