Gary Visscher, a former member of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, will soon be named deputy assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, according to agency sources. Visscher''s responsibilities are to include policy, information technology, and public affairs. The position does not require Senate confirmation.
The new political appointee may give OSHA chief John Henshaw, a relative outsider to Washington, some extra help in dealing with Congress.
Visscher was the policy counsel for the House Committee on Education and the Workforce until 1999, when he was appointed to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. He left the review commission last year to join the American Iron and Steel Institute, a Washington, DC industry trade association.
Visscher also appears to be someone who could help Henshaw build bridges between OSHA stakeholders. In addition to his strong ties to industry, Visscher has evidently earned the respect of organized labor. Even though he was a Republican appointed to the review commission by a Democratic administration, labor did not oppose the nomination in 1999.
OSHA had no comment on the appointment, which has not yet been announced publicly.
by James Nash