Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao announced on August 6th that the United
States Senate had confirmed John Henshaw as the new Assistant Secretary of Labor for
Occupational Safety and Health on Friday.
“American workers win with John Henshaw,” Chao said. “John is the perfect person to lead
an effort to create the safest and healthiest environment for American workers.”
In a statement during the confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and
Pensions Committee, he said enforcement alone cannot reach the nearly 7 million work sites in the
country. More must be done through partnerships with companies and voluntary programs to prevent
workplace accidents and illnesses, he said.
“OSHA must use all the tools in its tool bag. The hammer must always be in our bag and used where
necessary,’ Henshaw said. “But like a good craftsman, we must know how to use all our tools and to
pick the right tool for the job.’
Prior to his nomination, Henshaw served as director for environment, safety and health at
Astaris LLC in St. Louis, a joint venture between Solutia Inc. and FMC. From 1997 to 2000
he served in a similar position with Solutia Inc. Henshaw has over 26 years experience in
the safety and health profession in small to medium sized businesses. He has also served
in the Air National Guard, working as a bioenvironmental engineer.
Henshaw is a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American
Society of Safety Engineers and was president of the American Industrial Hygiene
Association from 1990 to 1991. He graduated from Appalachian State University and
received his M.P.H. from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 1974.
Henshaw has yet to make an official statement concerning OSHA and any possible ergonomics regulations.