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New Acting Head of MSHA Named

On August 21st, 2017, Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, announced that Wayne Palmer, former Chief of Staff for the Department of Labor, will serve as interim Assistant Secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, filling a role not addressed since Donald Trump’s inauguration.  It is not clear if Mr. Palmer has mining experience, as his position prior to working at the DOL was serving as Chief of Staff for former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum.  Mr. Palmer worked on the transition team for President Trump, and was part of the beachhead team for the Department of Labor following the election. However, national and state mining associations continue to press for someone with a background working in the mining industry for the permanent head of MSHA position.

Due to the fact that this appointment is temporary, Senate confirmation is not required.  Therefore, new leadership roles can be filled within the agency fairly quickly.  The Trump Administration is expected to announce a nominee for the permanent role within the next 2 weeks.  Following the confirmation of the new Assistant Secretary for MSHA, Mr. Palmer may stay on as Deputy Assistant Secretary.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019


About this Author

Of Counsel

Justin M. Winter is Of Counsel in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling. His practice focuses on workplace safety and health, and representing clients in MSHA proceedings and before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission.

Mr. Winter handles contests of MSHA citations and orders, and routinely assists clients during inspection, including communication with MSHA local field and...