Role of Consensus Standards in Occupational Safety and Health

Adopted October 1996 | Updated June 2005

The utilization of national consensus standards will be of increased importance to this country as the economy of the United States moves towards more of a global perspective. National consensus standards reflect the opinions of the professionals who work at all levels of the public and private sectors in technology development, safety and health, manufacturing, training, financial analysis, personnel, academia and also reflect insight from the final end user. This balanced perspective enables standards to be crafted in a way that benefits and protects users of the standard.

ASSE supports the increased utilization of consensus standards in the formulation of legislation and regulation for occupation safety and health. Governmental agencies such as OSHA, MSHA, CPSC, and NHTSA should be encouraged to utilize these consensus standards – in accordance with Public Law 104-113, "The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995," and the Office of Management and Budget in its Circular A-119, “Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities" – as they provide an efficient/effective alternative to traditional public sector rule making.

Policy Implementation

ASSE advocates initiatives to encourage the utilization of national consensus standards as an effective and efficient option for meeting the demand of improved regulation and legislation in occupational safety and health since:

  • National consensus standards have fewer procedural burdens
  • The consensus method provides for a balance between competing interests.
  • The voluntary nature of consensus standards enables users to adapt provisions to meet unusual circumstances.
  • Much lower standards development costs result.

ASSE Position Statement on Role of Consensus Standards in Occupational Safety and Health

Approved 10/19/96 by the ASSE Board of Directors
Updated 6/11/05 by ASSE Government Affairs Committee

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