National Occupational Injury Research Symposium (NOIRS)

David Michaels, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

David Michaels

Appointed in 2009, Dr. Michaels is the longest serving Assistant Secretary in OSHA’s history. He has worked to strengthen the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) enforcement in high hazard industries, promote common sense worker protection programs and standards, expand compliance assistance provided to small employers, improve the agency’s whistleblower protection program, and increase outreach to vulnerable populations at risk for work-related injury and illness. In his role, he has also increased OSHA’s focus and capabilities in the areas of data analysis and program evaluation.

Prior to his appointment at OSHA, Dr. Michaels was a professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health. From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Michaels served as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety and Health. In that position, he was the chief architect of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, the historic initiative to compensate nuclear weapons workers who contracted occupational illnesses as a result of exposure to radiation, beryllium and other hazards.

In 2006, Dr. Michaels was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. He also won the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award in 2009, given by Sigma Xi the Scientific Research Society, for his work in scientific integrity and for gaining compensation for nuclear weapons workers.

He is a graduate of the City College of New York, and holds a Master of Public Health and PhD from Columbia University.

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2014