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Senate confirms new MSHA head

By |  April 12, 2022

Logo: MSHA

The Senate confirmed Christopher Williamson to head the Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), more than four months after his nomination was made.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) voiced its approval of the move, with president and CEO Michael Johnson noting that he looks forward to working with Williamson.

“Safety is a core value for NSSGA and its member companies,” Johnson says. “We congratulate Chris Williamson on his confirmation and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the agency as we work to further health and safety for miners throughout our industry.”

Williamson was nominated for the position in November by President Biden. The nomination drew praise from the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA).

“Chris Williamson is the most knowledgeable expert on mine safety and health in Washington today,” says Cecil Roberts, president of UMWA. “His in-depth understanding of what it takes to keep miners safer and healthier at work is unmatched, and I expect that the Mine Safety & Health Administration will be a stronger advocate for miners under his watch.”

Williamson, a West Virginia native, arrives at MSHA from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), where he served as senior counsel to chair Lauren McFerran.

Prior to working at the NLRB, Williamson held positions at the Department of Labor and in the Senate, including as special assistant at MSHA during the Obama administration, as labor counsel to former Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee chair Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), as legislative assistant to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and as attorney advisor at the Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission.

As labor counsel, the White House says Williamson advised Harkin and committee members on labor, occupational and mine safety and health, and black lung benefits and other workers’ compensation issues. Williamson was also Manchin’s primary policy advisor on labor, mine safety and health, pensions and agriculture issues, advising the senator on energy and environmental policy.

Williamson began his career in public service as an attorney-advisor to Jacqueline Bulluck, an administrative law judge at the Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission.

Jack Kopanski

About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or jkopanski@northcoastmedia.net.

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