I’m not one to keep good news under a bushel basket, but in deference to my perception of some Labor Department protocol, I kept waiting for an official announcement. But, the news is too good to wait any longer:
Secretary Solis has appointed Gregory R. Wagner, MD as the senior official at MSHA until an assistant secretary (Joe Main, nominee) is confirmed.
Many of us in the OHS world know Greg for his many years of service at NIOSH, including as director of the division of respiratory disease studies in Morgantown, WV, and as an active member of the American Public Health Association’s OHS Section (since 1978!!) and the American Thoracic Society. As a respiratory disease physician who treated and cared for miners and other workers at the Cabin Creek clinic in Dawes, WV (1978-1989) he has first hand knowledge of the grave toll that work-related injuries and disease have on miners and their families. He’s written nearly 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, reports and other documents on occupational hazards, many of which are the exact hazards experienced by our nation’s mine workers.
With MSHA’s talented industrial hygienists, inspectors and engineers joining forces with Dr. Wagner, we should expect great new enforcement and regulatory efforts to protect miner workers from injuries and illnesses.