Return of the MAC: OSHA Aye-Aye’s Maritime Charter
On January 19, 2017, OSHA’s Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor renewed a charter first promulgated more than 20 years ago by OSHA’s Maritime Advisory Committee — the oft-referred “MAC.” In so doing, OSHA celebrated a “return of the MAC,” so to speak, by recognizing MAC as a mainstay in U.S. maritime bureaucracy. It remains unclear if OSHA intended its arguably less sexy adaptation as a tacit homage to the timeless 1996 Billboard hit, “Return of the Mack”*; crystal clear, however, is OSHA’s re-commitment to MACOSH doctrine.
Together, MAC and OSHA will remain responsible for reckoning discourse and touting expert counsel on maritime-related occupational concerns. Such concerns include those voiced by anyone from the able-bodied seaman to the corporate official (who may also happen to be able-bodied), and permeate all maritime sectors from shipbuilding, ship breaking, ship repairing, commercial fishing and long-shoring to marine terminal.
In addition to renewing the charter, the recent MACOSH notice explicitly allays any concerns that its fifteen-member committee stands ill-equipped to serve the diverging interests and eclectic demographic it so greatly impacts. To the contrary, OSHA’s statement showcases a MAC collective resume spanning military and governmental departments, as well as the safety, health and management fields. Last, but certainly not least, OSHA’s MAC-force includes diplomats for the hard-working majority so often responsible for eventual industry reform, including boilermakers, longshoreman and machinists.
Individually, each of the fifteen council members also amassed extensive governmental and maritime experience, as shown by MAC officials hailing from the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, Health & Human Services and the Department of Labor — a crew further complemented by marine experts in chemistry, engineering and industrial hygiene. Finally, any formidable advisory team would be incomplete without a manager of the highest echelon, such as one tenured for oversight of classified national security operations, and MAC satisfied this candidacy vis-a-vis Donald Raffo of General Dynamics, the country’s most storied and preeminent maritime defense contractor.
*For ease of reference, see Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uB1D9wWxd2w ; see also, January 19, 2017 OSHA Trade Release, “US Department of Labor renews the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health” available at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=33717