ASSE: Henshaw Says Building Credibility a Priority for OSHA

OSHA Administrator John Henshaw faced a tough crowd Monday in Nashville: safety professionals who wanted to know what he plans for the nation

Attendees at Monday's plenary sessions at the American Society of Safety Engineers' (ASSE) Professional Development Conference in Nashville heard Henshaw say the three greatest challenges facing him as OSHA Administrator are ergonomics; building on the talent of OSHA employees and improving the agency's credibility and respect; and demonstrating effectiveness by developing outcome measures - such as reducing injuries and illnesses - through results.

"We can't sit and wait for the magic bullet," said Henshaw, referring to a mandatory ergonomics standard. "I don't think anyone should be using safety and health as the wind in the sails of any debate. Safety professionals and workers face safety and health issues every day."

He said he wants to create an agency "that is respected and to remove some of the barriers and/or political footballs." He noted OSHA employs "great and dedicated employees that want to reduce injuries and illnesses. They are committed. I do not want to see that tarnished."

Henshaw also stated that he wanted to show the effectiveness of the agency by developing objectives and creating concrete, effective outcome measures, such as reducing injuries and illnesses, in an effort to better evaluate the agency's work.

"We agree with the direction OSHA Administrator Henshaw is taking which is in line with our goals to reduce injuries and fatalities in the workplace," ASSE President Eddie Greer said. "We must all work together for a common goal -- increasing workplace safety."

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