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July 30, 2003

The Honorable John Henshaw
Assistant Secretary of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA Docket Office
U.S. Department of Labor
Docket No. S-029
Room N-2625
200 Constitution Avenue, NW.
Washington, DC 20210

RE: Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems); Proposed Rule (29 CFR Part 1910 - [Docket S-029] - RIN 1218-AB80)

Dear Assistant Secretary Henshaw:

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urges careful consideration of the enclosed substantive comments made by two American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited committees whose work contributes greatly to this nation's understanding of the measures necessary to protect workers - the Z359 Committee for Fall Protection and the A1264 Committee for Floor and Walkway Openings. The Society is proud to serve these committees as secretariat and hopes that their perspectives on the reopened Proposed Rule "Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems)" (29 CFR Part 1910) can be seen as the best and widest possible source of expertise on the issues reflected in this rulemaking.

ASSE also serves as the secretariat for the ANSI Z490.1 Standard entitled "Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training." The standard sets accepted practices for safety, health and environmental training to help employers and consumers select quality training materials and instructors and to audit and evaluate training providers and employee training activities. As you well know, effective training opportunities for employees are necessary if any efforts aimed at increasing worker safety and health are to succeed. Z490.1 helps assure that effectiveness.

This rulemaking provides an excellent opportunity for OSHA to further what Congress intended when federal agencies were encouraged to utilize consensus standards in "The National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995" (Public Law 104-113). 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" further encouraged reliance on consensus standards.

Therefore, ASSE joins with the Z359 and A1264 Committees in seeking particular reference to the ANSI Z359 and Z490.1 standards as well as the detailed suggestions for reference of other standards provided by the committees. OSHA reference of these standards would provide employers with a consistent message and encourage a furtherance of the voluntary consensus process, which provides advances in worker safety and health in a way that encourage the cooperative involvement of all stakeholders. ASSE strongly supports that process and encourages OSHA to take this opportunity to do the same.

ASSE thanks the Z359 and A1264 committees for their thoughtful comments on this rulemaking and is confident that OSHA will consider their views in entirety.

Respectfully submitted,

James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP

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