The OSHA system for oversight of chemicals in the workplace was evaluated to derive lessons for oversight of nanotechnology. Criteria relating to the development, attributes, evolution, and outcomes of the system were used for evaluation that was based upon quantitative expert elicitation and historical literature analysis. The oversight system had inadequate resources in terms of finances, expertise, and personnel, and insufficient incentive for compliance. The system showed a lack of flexibility in novel situations. There were minimal requirements on companies for data on health and safety of their products. These factors have a strong influence on public confidence and health and safety. The oversight system also scored low on attributes such as public input, transparency, empirical basis, conflict of interest, and informed consent. The experts in our sample tend to believe that the current oversight system for chemicals in the workplace is neither adequate nor effective. It is very likely that the performance of the OSHA oversight system for nanomaterials will be equally inadequate.