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Hearings set for OSHA nominee

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will fire questions at John Henshaw, the Bush administration's pick to run OSHA, at a confirmation hearing on Thursday, August 2. The hearing before the full committee is set for 10 a.m. in the Senate Dirksen Building, Room 430.

Ergonomics will likely be discussed more than Henshaw's qualifications. Senate Democrats who control the committee will use the hearing to press Henshaw to set a new standard. Pro-ergo standard Dems on the committee include Chairman Ted Kennedy (Mass.), Paul Wellstone (Minn.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.).

Henshaw, a former Monsanto Company industrial hygiene manager with strong technical credentials, is expected to sail through the confirmation process. But the hearing will provide him a preview of the predicament faced by most OSHA chiefs - having to answer to Democrats and labor unions who want to see more standards and enforcement, and Republicans and business groups who favor cooperation and consultation.

GOP Senators Mike Enzi (Wyo.) and Jeff Sessions (Ala.) will caution Henshaw to move with care on the ergo issue. Meanwhile, Sen. Wellstone is on record saying, "We don't need more study - we need action - now."

Welcome to Washington, Mr. Henshaw.

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