At a Jan. 25 small business roundtable convened by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, Jordan Barab, one of the Occupational Health & Safety Administration’s (OSHA) two deputy assistant secretaries, announced that he and Dr. David Michaels, head of the OSHA, would remain in their positions for the second Obama term.

An epidemiologist, Michaels is on a leave from George Washington U., where he is a professor. His continued presence at OSHA appears to reaffirm the Obama Administration's commitment to: 1) robust enforcement and 2) attempts to move new rules that safety advocates say are long overdue.

(See related: OSHA releases 2013 regulatory agenda)

Barab was appointed deputy assistant secretary, the second highest-ranking position at the agency, in April ’09. A former policy adviser to the House Education and Labor Committee, Barab also has served with the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

It still is uncertain who will lead the Dept. of Labor. Outgoing Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced her resignation on Jan. 9, and no successor has been named.

Rumored potential replacements for Solis include: former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich; Olena Berg Lacy, assistant labor secretary in the Clinton Administration; Solicitor of Labor Patricia Smith; Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris; Maria Echaveste, Clinton's former deputy chief of staff; Carrie Wofford, senior Democratic counsel on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; Rep. DeLauro (D-Conn.); and Arlene Holt Baker, AFL-CIO executive vice president.