James Frederick

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

Current Position:

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

Professional Experience:

Jim was sworn in on January 20, 2021, and started work with OSHA on the same day. Although it was his first day working with the government, it wasn’t his first experience with OSHA. Before joining the Department of Labor, Jim devoted 30 years of his career to worker safety and health, primarily as a union safety and health representative, including 25 years with the United Steelworkers Union. He also actively engaged with OSHA and many of OSHA’s stakeholders throughout his career. His work at OSHA focuses on real and meaningful worker involvement without fear of retaliation so that employers and safety and health professionals can better control hazards and lower the risk of workers experiencing acute traumatic injuries and chronic occupational illnesses. On any given day at OSHA, Jim can be found working on the agency’s regulatory priorities; engaging with workers, employers, advocates, and others in the occupational health and safety community; recruiting and retaining staff; developing strategies to ensure that whistleblower protections are focused on the outcome for workers who have been victims of retaliation; and refining OSHA’s cooperative programs to ensure that workers are a vital part of the good work that is being done. Jim believes that open and clear communication is key to ensuring that workers understand their rights and that employers know their responsibilities. He works to make sure the agency is keeping up with technologies, tools, and resources to increase OSHA’s reach to the agency’s stakeholders. One example of this is adding the agency’s first national family liaison to support families who lost a loved one in a workplace incident. Jim often notes that the work at OSHA since January 2021 has been an incredibly rewarding experience. He considers his opportunity to serve the agency, department, administration, and America’s workers a privilege second to none.

Speaking Topics

U.S. OSHA Today

In the United States of America, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the regulatory agency that provides the framework for occupational safety and health in most workplaces in the country. OSHA’s mission is “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” OSHA’s operational focus is on the United States, but it is also part of the overall global occupational safety and health mosaic. Because of that, the agency helps lead the ongoing evolution of workplace prevention and control measures. OSHA also plays an important role in developing of the safety and health experts who serve throughout the profession. Jim Frederick was appointed by President Joseph Biden to serve as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor at OSHA, where he has served since January 20, 2021. In this session Jim will provide an overview of his view of OSHA’s expanded function to improve workplace safety and health for all workers in the United States and around the world. He will discuss OSHA generally and the agency’s specific role in addressing important health hazards and issues such as heat, infectious diseases, violence in the workplace, workplace impact on mental health, the importance of equity, and the dual track of worker participation. Jim will present this in the context of Sustainable Development Goals, specifically ‘Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being’ and ‘Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.’