whistleblower advisory meeting OSHA

The first meeting of the Department of Labor’s Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee (WPAC) will convene Jan. 29 in Washington, D.C., to make discuss, among other recommendations, improving regulations governing OSHA investigations.

The WPAC was created in 2012 to advise, consult with and make recommendations to the secretary of labor and the assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health on ways to improve the fairness, efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of OSHA’s whistleblower protection programs.

“Protecting workers who identify wrongdoing is an essential cornerstone of the U.S. Department of Labor’s worker protection enforcement efforts,” said Solis. “The members of the whistleblower committee, who represents the interests of labor, management and the public, will utilize their expertise to provide valuable advice and recommendations to help OSHA strengthen and improve our whistleblower protection program.”

In addition to revealing the first WPAC meeting date, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis also announced the committee’s inaugural appointees. The 12 voting and three ad-hoc members will serve 2-year terms. The committee will meet at least twice a year.

Three members represent the public:

  • Jonathan Brock, retired associate professor, Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington; and chairman, Hanford Concerns Council
  • Richard Moberly, associate dean, University of Nebraska
  • Emily Spieler, Edwin W. Hadley professor of law, Northeastern School of Law (chairperson)

Four members represent management:

  • David Eherts, vice president and chief safety officer, Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.
  • Gregory Keating, shareholder, co-chair of the whistleblowing practice group and member of the board of directors, Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • Marcía Narine, visiting professor at the University of Missouri; and compliance consultant, MDO Partners
  • Kenneth Wengert, C.S.P., A.R.M., director of safety, environment and business continuity planning, Kraft Foods

Four members represent labor:

  • Ava Barbour, associate general counsel, International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
  • Eric Frumin, health and safety director, Change to Win
  • Billie Garde, partner, Clifford & Garde LLP
  • Nancy Lessin, program director, United Steelworkers’ Tony Mazzocchi Center for Health, Safety and Environmental Education

One member represents OSHA state plans:

  • Christine Dougherty, discrimination investigator, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry

Three non-voting members represent federal agencies:

  • Rina Tucker Harris, enforcement attorney, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • John Van Steenburg, chief safety officer, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
  • Jason Zuckerman, senior legal advisor, U.S. Office of Special Counsel

The Jan. 29 meeting will be held at the Labor Department’s Frances Perkins Building in Washington, D.C., to make recommendations regarding the development and/or implementation of better customer service to workers and employers, improvement in the investigative and enforcement processes, improvement of regulations governing OSHA investigations, and recommendations for cooperative activities with federal agencies responsible for areas also covered by the whistleblower protection statutes enforced by OSHA.

For more information on how to participate, read the Federal Register notice.

New Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee to Meet Jan. 29
EHS Today