Cal/OSHA Names New Acting Chief | Construction News

In construction news, Juliann Sum has been named Acting Chief of Cal/OSHA by Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). Sum replaces Ellen Widess who has resigned from the position, but will continue with the Division of Occupational Safety and Health as a special advisor to Baker.

Sum has worked for over 26 years to help workers understand and exercise their legal rights through numerous educational materials, training workshops, and consultation with legal aid groups that assist low-wage and immigrant workers.

She joined DIR in May 2012 as a special advisor to Baker. Sum served at UC Berkeley from 1994 to 2012 as project director with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, and consulting attorney and industrial hygienist with the Labor Occupational Health Program.   Her experience includes work as an associate attorney with the Environmental Law Foundation and industrial hygienist and business representative with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245.   

Sum earned a law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law, a Master of Science degree in environmental health sciences from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Bachelor of Science degree in biophysics from Brown University.  

“Juliann’s focus will be on prevention – strong enforcement, compliance, outreach and education,” said Baker. “I thank Ellen for her dedicated service and look forward to her knowledgeable advice in her new role. I am confident that Juliann’s extensive background and experience will further the Administration’s commitment to a comprehensive Cal/OSHA program.”

The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) protects and improves the health, safety, and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. Cal/OSHA, a division of DIR, protects workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California through its enforcement, consultation, and research and standards programs.


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