Review Commission May Stop Reviewing

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission may soon be one commissioner shy of the quorum needed to review contested OSHA cases.

The departure last week of Gary Vissher from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) means it may soon be one commissioner shy of the quorum it needs to review contested OSHA enforcement actions.

The commission currently has two members, Chairman Thomasina Rogers and Stuart Weisberg. But Weisberg is a "recess appointment" who was never confirmed by the Senate.

This means that when the current Congress goes into recess, his term will expire, leaving Rogers as the sole member on the commission.

A minimum of two commissioners is necessary in order to conduct reviews, although OSHRC''s public information officer, Linda Whitsett, says Rogers can continue to place cases on the calendar if she is the only commissioner.

President Clinton may decide to replace Weisberg by making another recess appointment after Congress leaves town and before the new president is inaugurated.

The last time the Republicans won the White House from the Democrats it took approximately four months to get a new commissioner appointed and approved by the Senate, Whitsett said.

Vissher, a Republican, was appointed by Clinton and joined the commission July 4, 1999.

His term was to expire in April of 2001. Whitsett said Vissher has accepted a position at the Iron and Steel Institute, a Virginia-based trade association.

Weisberg''s upcoming departure will be welcomed by industry groups who opposed his appointment because they believed he too often took an anti-business position on cases before the commission.

by James Nash

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