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Art Carter

Chair, Cal/OSH Appeals Board

A former DOSH chief, Carter now leads the board that hears appeals to Cal/OSHA citations and has been the source of controversy in past years.

Art CarterResume: Prior to his appointment as chair of the Appeals Board by Gov. Jerry Brown, he was originally named as a board member in the labor spot by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009. He came out of retirement to take the job. Carter owned and served as lobbyist for Art Carter and Associates from 1984 to 2004, lobbying on behalf of unions, including the Pipe Trade Council and Sheetmetal Workers. He served as deputy chief administrative officer for San Francisco. He was DOSH chief, appointed by Gov. Brown in 1976, and left in 1983 with the election of Gov. George Deukmejian. Carter was also secretary-treasurer for the Central Labor Council of Contra Costa County from 1967 to 1976. He began his career as a union representative for the Hospital Workers Union, Local 250.

Schools:  He holds a B.A. from California State University, Sacramento.

Boards & Commissions:  During the 1970s and 1980s he served on a variety of boards, including the Contra Costa County Grand Jury, the East Bay Parks Regional Advisory Council, the Model Cities Program, the Economic Opportunity Commission and the United Way Bay Area Board.

Mentor:  During his first job with OSHA, Carter says he learned a lot from labor organizations and larger corporations, including Bechtel, which had a good record in health and safety protection. It was that record that resulted in California adopting the first voluntary compliance for the San Onofre nuclear plant, which Carter helped negotiate. 

Another big impact was the exposure of oil worker unions working in a pesticide formulation plant that rendered some workers sterile. It had a huge impact and led to California’s Occupational Health Center and controls on carcinogens. Carter says it was a very dramatic health illness and few people were aware of health exposure issues at the time. During the same period there was a major incident in a lead battery plant in Southern California that led to major enforcement and was an “eye-opener” to Carter. “There are employers who spend a lot of money on compliance, in part to keep workers’ comp rates down, to bid on government contracts. Many also generally want to do the right thing,” he says. 

Favorite Book:  He tends to read World War II history.


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