After months of gossip and rumors about candidates and short lists, OSHA's new chief is on the way. The White House announced June 13 President Bush's intent to nominate John Lester Henshaw to be assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. Henshaw is presently director of environment, safety and health for Astaris, LLC, in St. Louis, Mo.

Henshaw, 51, is well-known in environmental health and safety circles. His 26-year career in the profession includes stints as director of environment, safety and health for Solutia, Inc., a Monsanto spin-off; and various positions with Monsanto Co., including corporate director of quality and compliance assurance, corporate stewardship for environmental safety and health, and corporate industrial hygiene.

The selection of Henshaw is one OSHA issue that labor and business groups agree on. After the White House announcement, both unions and professional associations voiced support for his technical expertise and passion for health and safety. How he puts those attributes to use at OSHA will likely be questioned at Senate hearings chaired by Sen. Ted Kennedy. Sources say Henshaw might have to wait until the fall to be formally approved by the Senate.

In 1990, Henshaw was president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). Interestingly, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News ran a headline in its May 1990 issue: "Will John Henshaw appear on "Good Morning America?," citing his polish and ability to articulate health and safety issues. Eleven years later, it looks like he may be on his way.

Henshaw, a certified industrial hygienist, is married and has four children. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University and received a Master's degree in environmental health administration and industrial health from the University of Michigan.