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Governor Brown Appoints Two New Cal/OSHA Deputy Chiefs

Governor Brown Appoints Two New Cal/OSHA Deputy Chiefs


OAKLAND, California, Dec. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is pleased to announce Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.’s appointment of Debra Lee and Eric Berg as the newest Cal/OSHA Deputy Chiefs. The appointments build on Lee and Berg’s combined 39 years of experience working with Cal/OSHA to strengthen workplace health and safety.

“Governor Brown appointed two of the most experienced and informed Cal/OSHA employees to help guide the division into the future,” said DIR Director Christine Baker. Cal/OSHA, officially known as the Division of Occupational Safety and Health, is a division of DIR.

As Deputy Chief of Safety with Cal/OSHA’s Enforcement Branch, Debra Lee will oversee investigations and inspections of California’s worksites. Her duties will include managing Cal/OSHA’s regular enforcement offices statewide, as well as the specialized Mining and Tunneling, High Hazard and Labor Enforcement Task Force units.

As Deputy Chief of Health, Eric Berg will manage Cal/OSHA’s research and standards activities, including the development of health and safety regulations. He will also oversee Cal/OSHA’s Medical and Toxicology, Asbestos and Carcinogen and Crane units.

The new appointees will serve under the general direction of Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “I have worked closely with both Debra Lee and Eric Berg, and have complete confidence in their ability to carry out our critical responsibilities in enforcement, research and standards,” said Chief Sum.

Debra Lee originally joined Cal/OSHA as an industrial hygienist with the High Hazard Unit in 1994. She was promoted several times, most recently to Acting Deputy Chief of Field Enforcement in April 2015. Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in health science from Cal State University Northridge and knew at an early age that she wanted a career protecting working people. She is inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote, “All labor has dignity.”

Eric Berg also started his career with Cal/OSHA as an industrial hygienist in 1997.  He has served as a safety engineer in multiple units, and was promoted to Acting Deputy Chief of Research and Standards in April 2015. Berg holds a master’s degree in environmental health engineering from University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s in civil engineering from Cal State University Chico. He is also fluent in the Spanish language.

Cal/OSHA helps protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job in almost every workplace in California. Cal/OSHA’s Consultation Services Branch provides free and voluntary assistance to employers and employee organizations to improve their health and safety programs. Employers should call (800) 963-9424 for assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation Services.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact DIR’s Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734). The California Workers’ Information line at 866-924-9757 provides recorded information in English and Spanish on a variety of work-related topics. Complaints can also be filed confidentially with Cal/OSHA district offices.

Members of the press may contact Erika Monterroza or Peter Melton at (510) 286-1161, and are encouraged to subscribe to get email alerts on DIR’s press releases or other departmental updates.    

The California Department of Industrial Relations, established in 1927, 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. DIR is housed within the Labor & Workforce Development Agency. For general inquiries, contact DIR’s Communications Call Center at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734) for help in locating the appropriate division or program in our department.


Governor Brown Appoints Two New Cal/OSHA Deputy Chiefs