t
AMERICAN SOCIETY
OF SAFETY ENGINEERS

1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
847.699.2929
FAX 847.296.3769
www.asse.org

December 27, 2004

Jonathan Snare
Acting Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA Docket Office
Docket No. S-023,
U.S. Department of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room N-2625
Washington, DC

Via e-mail: http://ecomments.osha.gov

RE: Updating OSHA Standards Based on National Consensus Standards

Dear Mr. Snare:

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) fully supports the ongoing effort of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure that the consensus standards referenced in OSHA's own standards are updated and that outdated standards are revoked, as reflected reflected in OSHA's Proposed Rule published in the November 24, 2004, Federal Register.

As the attached ASSE Position Statement indicates, it has long been the position of ASSE that OSHA should undertake a consistent effort to ensure that its standards reflect the latest consensus standards. While we understand the regulatory limitations OSHA faces in fulfilling its stated intent to update standards, consistency between
2

OSHA standards and the consensus standards our members follow across American industries only helps our members fulfill their responsibility of helping ensure the safety and health of the workers and jobsites they strive to protect.

To assist OSHA in its efforts, enclosed is a list of the most recent American National Standards Institute occupational safety and health standards that ASSE administers as secretariat. ASSE encourages OSHA to contact ASSE if there are any questions about any of these standards.

As always, ASSE looks forward to working with OSHA to ensure that OSHA succeeds in fulfilling the intent of this rulemaking.

Sincerely,

Gene Barfield, CSP
President

Summary of ANSI/ASSE Standards

Standard Name Scope Statement
ANSI/ASSE A10.2-2000X
Safety, Health, and Environmental Training for Construction and Demolitions
This standards addresses processes to provide effective safety, health, and environmental training on construction and demolition sites.
ANSI/ASSE A10.3-1995
Safety Requirements for Powder-
Actuated Fastening Systems—
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard provides safety requirements for a powder-actuated fastening system (tool or machine) that propels a stud, pin, fastener, or other object for the purpose of affixing it, by penetration, to hard structural material.
ANSI/ASSE A10.4-2004
Safety Requirements for Personnel Hoists and Employee Elevators—American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard applies to the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alterations and repair of hoists and elevators that (1) are not an integral part of buildings, (2) are installed inside or outside buildings or structures during construction, alteration, demolition operations and (3) are used to raise and lower workers and other personnel connected with or related to the structure. These personnel hoists and employee elevators may also be used for transporting materials under specific circumstances defined in this standard.
ANSI/ASSE A10.5-200X
Safety Requirements for Material Hoists
This standard applies to materials hoists used to raise or lower materials
ANSI/ASSE A10.6-1990 (R1998)
Safety Requirements for Demolition Operations –American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
 
ANSI/ASSE A10.7-1998
Commercial Explosives and Blasting Agents - Safety Requirements for Transportation, Storage, Handling and Use
Provides the construction industry with reasonable minimum recommendations for establishing and maintaining a level of health and safety with regard to the transportation, storage, handling, and use of commercial explosives and blasting agents.
ANSI/ASSE A10.8-2001
Safety Requirements for Scaffolding—
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
Addresses the establishment of safety requirements for the construction, operation, maintenance, and use of scaffolds used in the construction, alteration, demolition, and maintenance of buildings and structures. The standard does not cover permanently installed suspended scaffold systems or aerial platforms. The purpose of the standard is to provide reasonable safety for life and limb of those engaged in occupations requiring the use of scaffolding. There is one significant exception to the standard. In cases of practical difficulties, unnecessary hardships, or new developments, exceptions to the literal requirements may permit the use of other devices or methods, but only when it is clearly indicated by a qualified person that the equivalent protection is thereby secured.
ANSI/ASSE A10.9-1997 Safety Requirements for Concrete and Masonry Work –American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations Establishes safety requirements pertaining to concrete construction and masonry work in construction.
ANSI/ASSE A10.10-1990 (R1998)
Safety Requirements for Temporary and
Portable Space Heating Devices and
Equipment Used in the Construction Industry American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations—
Provides minimum safety requirements for the selection, installation, operation and maintenance of space heating devices and equipment of temporary and portable design.
ANSI/ASSE A10.11-1989 (R1998)
Safety Requirements for Personnel and Debris Nets—American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
Establishes safety requirements for the selection, installation, and use of personnel and debris nets during construction, repair, and demolition operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.12-1998
Safety Requirements for Excavation—
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
Establishes standards for the prevention of deaths, injuries and damage during or related to excavation operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.13-2001
Safety Requirements for Steel Erection—
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard establishes safety requirements for the erecting, handling, fitting, fastening, reinforcing and dismantling of structural steel, plate steel, steel joist, and metal deck at a final in-place field site during construction, maintenance and dismantling operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.14-Withdrawn
Fall Protection Systems for Construction and Demolitions
This standard establishes safety requirements for the erecting, handling, fitting, fastening, reinforcing and dismantling of structural steel, plate steel, steel joist, and metal deck at a final in-place field site during construction, maintenance and dismantling operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.15-1995
Safety Requirements for Dredging –
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard applies to the operation, inspection, and maintenance of any vessel fitted with machinery for the purpose of removing or relocating of material from or in a body of water.
ANSI/ASSE A10.16-1995 (R2001)
Safety Requirements for Tunnels, Shafts, and Caissons—American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard establishes safety requirements pertaining to the construction of tunnels, shafts, and caissons. The requirements set forth in this standard cover environmental control; related facilities; fire prevention; hoisting; haulage; and electrical drilling and blasting, and compressed-air work. This standard is not intended for application to mining or quarrying operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.17-1997
Safe Operating Practices for Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Construction
Applies to hot mix asphalt operations for construction and resurfacing. This standard was administratively withdrawn, and is being resubmitted as a new standard.
ANSI/ASSE A10.18-1996
Safety Requirements for Temporary Floor Holes, Wall Openings, Stairways and Other Unprotected Edges –
This standard prescribes rules and establishes safety requirements for the protection of employees and the public from hazards arising out of or associate with temporary floor holes and wall openings, stairs and other unprotected edges including low slope roofs during, construction and demolition activities
ANSI/ASSE A10.19-200X
Safety Requirements for Pile Installation and Extraction Operations
This standard establishes safety requirements for the installation and extraction of piles during construction and demolition operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.20-200X
Ceramic Tile, Terrazzo, and Marble Work – Safety Requirements
This standard establishes safety requirements for construction operations and equipment used in the handling and installation of ceramic tile, terrazzo, and marble.
ANSI/ASSE A10.21-200X
Proper Handling, Cleaning, and Disposal of Contaminated Work Clothing, and Contaminated Materials
This standard applies to the handling, custody, and cleaning of reuseable protection clothing.
ANSI/ASSE A10.22-1990 (R1998)
Safety Requirements for Rope-Guided and
Nonguided Workers' Hoists—
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
Establishes minimum safety requirements for temporary personnel hoisting systems used for the transportation of persons to and from working elevations during normal construction and demolition operations, including maintenance, and is restricted to use in special situations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.23-200X
Back Injury Prevention Programs
This standard sets forth recommended program guidelines for those responsible for establishing and administering back injury prevention programs.
ANSI/ASSE A10.24-200X
Roofing Safety Requirements
This Standard establishes safe operating practices for the installation and removal of hot bitumen low-sloped roofs.
ANSI/ASSE A10.25-200X
Sanitation in Construction
This standard establishes practices for sanitation construction and demolition operations.
ANSI/ASSE A10.26-200X
Emergency Procedures for Construction Sites
This standard addresses the need for emergency procedures on construction sites.
ANSI/ASSE A10.27-1998
Safety Requirements for Hot Mix Asphalt Facilities –
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
Provides recommendations concerning the design, manufacture, operating processes, and equipment associated with the production of hot asphalt mixing (HMA) facilities.
ANSI/ASSE A10.29-200X
Aerial Lifts In Construction
This standard covers the purchase, rental, maintenance, use, and training in use, of aerial lifts used for lifting personnel.
ANSI/ASSE A10.30-200X
Work Place Security
Provide the construction industry with reasonable recommendations for establishing and maintaining minimal levels of security.
ANSI/ASSE A10.31-1995
Safety Requirements, Definitions and Specifications for Digger Derricks—
This standard applies to special multipurpose vehicle-mounted machines, commonly known as digger-derricks. These machines are primarily designed to accommodate components which did holes, set poles, and position materials and apparatus. Excluded from this standard are general-purpose cranes designed only for lifting service and machines primarily designed on for digging holes. This standard establishes requirements for specifications and dimensions. It defines the respective responsibilities of the manufacturer, distributor, installer, owner, user, and operator of the digger-derrick. The requirements this standard shall be met or exceeded.
ANSI/ASSE A10.32-2004
Fall Protection Systems for Construction and Demolitions Operations
This standard establishes performance criteria for personal fall protection equipment and systems in construction and demolition and provides guidelines, recommendations for their use and inspection. It includes, but is not limited to; fall arrest, restraint, positioning, climbing, descending, rescue, escape and training activities. Exceptions: This standard does not include lineman's body belts, pole straps, window washers belts, chest/waist harnesses, and sports equipment.
ANSI/ASSE A10.33-1998 (R2004)
Safety and Health Program Requirements for Multi-Employer Projects—
Sets forth the minimum elements and activities of a program that defines the duties and responsibilities of construction project where a single Project Constructor supervises and controls the project.
ANSI/ASSE A10.34-2001
Protection of the Public on or Adjacent to Construction Sites—
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations
 
ANSI/ASSE A10.35-200X
High Pressure Hydro Blasting

Applies to High Pressure Hydro (Water) Blasting (Jetting) of 1000 psig (6.90 MPa) and above, used for cleaning, maintenance, construction, repair, cutting and/or demolition work.

ANSI/ASSE A10.36-200X
Railroad Construction, Maintenance, Inspection, Analysis, and Demolition Equipment
This document provides the minimum safety requirement for the application of techniques to be used in the performance of potential failure modes and effect analysis (FMEA) for railroad construction, inspection, analysis, and demolition machinery, equipment, and tools.
ANSI/ASSE A10.37-1996
American National Standard for Construction and Demolition Operations—Debris Net Systems Used During Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard establishes safety requirements for the design, selection, installation and use of debris net systems during construction, demolition operations, and for the temporary containment of debris from deteriorating structures
ANSI/ASSE A10.38-2000
Basic Elements of an Employer's Program to Provide a Safe and Healthful Work Environment –
This Standard Establishes the Minimum Elements of a program for protecting the safety and health of employees involved in construction and demolition activities
ANSI/ASSE A10.39-1996
American National Standard for Construction Safety and Health Audit Program American National Standard
for Construction and Demolition Operations
This standard identifies the minimum performance elements that when properly utlized will allow for a competent evaluation of a construction safety and health program. Further, it will identify those areas where systems, records, and performance elements are required in order to produce a quality audit.
ANSI/ASSE A10.40-200X
Ergonomics in Construction
This standard establishes action triggers for recognized ergonomic hazards. The standard addresses, excessive force, repetition, awkward postures, vibration and contact stress.
ANSI/ASSE A10.41-200X
Equipment Operator and Supervisor Qualifications and Responsibilities
This standard establishes the qualifications and responsibilities of individuals whose duties include ensuring the safety and health of construction equipment operations and qualifications of construction equipment operators.
ANSI/ASSE A10.42-2000
Safety Requirements for Rigging
Qualifications and Responsibilities –
This standard establishes minimum criteria of knowledge and performance requirements for a qualified rigger in the construction industry. It is designed to assist in achieving reasonable safety of all persons and materials during the process of or as the result of rigging, lifting, or movement of loads.
ANSI/ASSE A10.43-200X
Confined Spaces in Construction and Demolitions
Confined space procedures for entry on construction and demolition sites.
ANSI/ASSE A10.44-200X
Lockout/Tagout in Construction
This standard addresses lockout/tagout on construction and demolition sites.
ANSI/ASSE A10.45-200X
Disaster Response Preparedness
This standard establishes minimum criteria for disaster response preparedness during construction and demolition operations.
ANSI A1264.1-1995 (R2002) Safety Standards for Floor and Wall Openings, Railings, and Toeboards and Fixed General Industrial Stairs Safety standards intended to provide protection to persons in workplaces where is danger of persons or materials falling through the floor or wall openings or from stairwells, platforms, or runways.
ANSI A1264.2-2001 Standard for the Provision of Slip Resistance on Walking-Working Surfaces This standards sets forth provisions for protecting persons where there is potential for slipping and falling as a result of surface characteristic or conditions.
ANSI Z15-200X Safety Requirements for Motor Vehicle Fleet Operations This Accredited Standard Committee sets forth safety requirements for the operation of motor vehicle fleets, including, but not limited to, nomenclature, definition, data gathering, statistical analysis, inspection, maintenance, training, and other related equipment and functions of motor vehicle fleet operations.
ANSI Z117.1-2003 Safety Requirements for Confined Spaces This standard provides minimum safety requirements to be followed while entering, exiting, and working in confined spaces at normal atmospheric pressure.
ANSI Z244.1-2003 Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout And Alternative Methods This standard establishes requirements for the control of hazardous energy associated with machines, equipment, or processes that could cause injury to personnel.
ANSI Z359.1-1992 (R1999) Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest System, Subsystems and Components Fall Protection equipment and systems for climbing, man-riding, work positioning, fall arrest systems, rescue and evacuation and other fall hazard operations, excluding construction/demolition and sports activities.
Accepted Practices for Hydrogen Sulfide Safety Training Programs, ANSI Z390.1 - 2001 This standard sets forth accepted practices for Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) Safety Training to include: minimum informational content of the course; recommended exercises and drills; instructor credentials; and refresher requirements. The standard applies to those workplaces where employees have the potential to be exposed to concentrations of Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) in excess of the Immediately Dangerous to Life of Health (IDLH) concentration of 300 PPM during the performance of routine or emergency work activities. In workplaces where breathing zone concentrations of H2S cannot exceed IDLH concentration due to chemical or physical limitations, Hazard Communication Training, as required by OSHA in 29CFR 1910, 1200, in conjunction with the Respiratory Protection training recommended in ANSI Z88.2 "American national Standard Practices for Respiratory Protection" shall be regarded as adequate.
ANSI Z490.1-2003 Criteria for Best Practices in Safety, Health and Environmental Training Establishment of criteria for best practices for the filed of safety, health, and environmental training, including: core competencies, instructor credentials, organizational responsibilities/controls, awarding credit, model curriculums, records maintenance, and facilities/learning support resources, but not limited to instruction, competency methodologies, learning assessments, learning outcomes, and measurement.
ANSI Z690.1-200x Guidelines for Mold and Fungi Control and Remediation for Worker Protection in Indoor Work Environments The standard does not pertain to vehicles, agricultural operations, or other settings that already have established voluntary national consensus standards. The purpose of the standard is to establish minimum requirements and recommended procedures to be implemented by employers to minimize employee exposure to mold. The proposed standard does not establish an exposure level or action level for identification purposes or to trigger remediation activities.

 

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS

POSITION STATEMENT ON
THE ROLE OF CONSENSUS STANDARDS AND GOVERNMENTAL
REGULATIONS IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

Approved by the ASSE Board of Directors
August 25, 1995

POSITION STATEMENT ON THE ROLE OF CONSENSUS STANDARDS IN
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

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, manufacturing, training, financial analysis, personnel, academia as well as insight from the final end user. This balanced insight enables standards to be crafted in a way which not only benefits and protects users of the standard, but also furthers the interests of the businesses which have been created to meet user demand.

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, CPSC, NHTSA, etc... should be encouraged to utilize these consensus standards 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/efficient option for meeting the demand of increased regulation/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 cost are obtained.

(Supporting white paper enclosed)

WHITE PAPER ON THE ROLE OF CONSENSUS STANDARDS AND
GOVERNMENTAL REGULATIONS IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH

PREFACE

The American Society of Safety Engineers acknowledges a responsibility to take an active role in the evolution of national policy with respect to safety and health standards and regulations. At all times, and especially in times of political reform, there is a need for government to receive the counsel of the safety and health community with respect to standards development and promulgation.

As we review over two (2) decades of social legislation and its enforcement under EPA, OSHA, CPSC, etc., Congress and the professional safety and health community are again raising questions as to what the role of occupational safety and health standards and regulation should be. Some legislators have proposed a more comprehensive program of standards and enforcement. Others have maintained that the proper place for standards development and enforcement is within the national consensus standards-setting framework. Others have supported a performance-oriented approach to safety and health standards.

While this paper primarily focuses upon occupation safety and health standards and regulation, the positions set forth here can be applied generically to other regulatory areas. Essentially the uses of national consensus standards in the regulatory process, unless warranted by legislation already in place, should be pursued along the lines suggested in the various venues of this paper.

INTRODUCTION

To obtain a legislative compromise one of whose objective was to avoid delays that were inevitable if regulations were developed under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 required the newly formed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to promulgate safety and health regulations using existing nationally recognized consensus standards. While this action did serve the congressional intent of quickly establishing a set of regulations for OSHA to enforce, it also resulted in the adoption of hundreds of regulations that were of minimum value in protecting workers. Although OSHA has done much to eliminate such nuisance regulations, enforcement of regulations with questionable value in the 1970's resulted in resentment from industry that lingers even today.

Yet another problem in OSHA's rapid adoption of consensus standards as regulations was that advisory provisions of voluntary consensus standards became mandatory provisions of government regulations. In other words, not only was the voluntary standard made into a mandatory regulation, but many advisory provisions that used the word "should" were made into mandatory provisions when OSHA replaced the word "should" with "shall." The result was that some regulations were, as a practical matter, impossible to fully comply with. Many OSHA regulations were changed to address such concerns, but the experience seems to have damaged OSHA's reputation and credibility.

These developments also impacted the conduct of consensus standards committees. Many committees revised standards to clarify the original intent of provisions, more explicitly addressed exceptions to general provisions, narrowed the scope of the standards or otherwise reacted to developments at OSHA. Even today, members of consensus standards committees look beyond conveying general principles and concepts and concern themselves with exceptions to the rule, adverse impact on specific industries, legal implications of standards, and the potential for misinterpretation. Thus, as a result of OSHA and other factors1, the development and maintenance of consensus standards related to occupational safety and health has become a much more complicated and demanding endeavor.


1. Notable among these "other factors" are product liability and international trade concerns.

Given that OSHA regulations now exist, and given the cost and complexity of developing and maintaining consensus standards, one may question the value of consensus standards activities. Should consensus standards be withdrawn if they cover areas also covered by OSHA regulations? If so, what would happen if OSHA is eliminated? If no, what value is the consensus standard providing? What role should consensus standards play in occupational safety and health? What functions must be reserved for regulation?

To the above end this paper examines the proper role of consensus standards and government regulation in occupational safety and health. After describing the role of consensus standards to occupational safety and health, this paper concludes with a description of policies of the American Society of Safety Engineers intended to enhance this role.

DISCUSSION

The Value of Consensus Standards Generally

When compared to government regulation, consensus standards have several advantages, including the following:

  • fewer procedural burdens;
  • consensus method;
  • voluntary nature allows users to adapt provisions to meet unusual circumstances;
  • much lower development cost.

These advantages lead to authoritative documents that can be quickly developed and modified, appeal to common sense, are flexible in application, and are cost effective when compared to the federal regulatory process.

It is important to note that the concept of consensus and the input of most, if not all, materially interested parties is critical to the consensus system. Care must be exercised in the makeup and organization of consensus committees to assure the integrity of the process. Without these attributes the validity of a consensus standard is suspect.

When Government Regulation is Required

As previously stated, the validity of consensus standards is based on achieving consensus among all materially interested parties. It follows that government regulation is probably necessary when consensus cannot be achieved in the voluntary standards process, or when the voluntary standards process does not receive input and consider the views of all materially interested parties.

Government regulation is also required when a higher level of validity or greater objectivity is required for enforcement. Such may be a watershed issue for industry as OSHA is legislatively and administratively reformed. If industry wants high objectivity (i.e. little or no discretion or interpretation by OSHA compliance officers), then detailed and comprehensive regulations must exist. On the other hand, if industry wants less regulation and greater flexibility, then industry should consider greater application of voluntary standards in enforcement decisions made by OSHA compliance officers using their professional judgment. Given the appeal provisions allowed under OSHA this trade off appears worthwhile.

A potential danger in increased use of consensus standards is that the process will become targeted by special interests. However, viewed another way, increased use and application of consensus standards by OSHA will motivate increased participation in the consensus process and thereby increase the quality and validity of consensus standard related to occupational safety and health. While the "political" intensity of the process may increase, each party in the process will proceed with the understanding that (1) consensus does not require unanimity, and (2) failure to reach consensus may result in federal regulation.

The Value of Consensus Standards in Areas Addressed by Government Regulations

A practical concern to resource-limited standards developers is the extent to which support should be continued for consensus standards in areas addressed by government regulation. Consensus standards related to safety and health are perceived as less acceptable when OSHA regulations address the same issue, but nevertheless provide the following benefits:

  • consensus standards can provide a useful "how to" supplement to OSHA regulations;
  • consensus standards can influence revisions to OSHA regulations;
  • unlike OSHA, consensus standards can address off-the-job safety and health issue;
  • consensus standards address new issues and incorporate updated scientific information quickly while OSHA proceeds with its rulemaking process;
  • consensus standards can provide a valuable reference for safety and health evaluations in cases where OSHA regulations have become outdated.

The Relationship Between OSHA Regulations and Consensus Standards

What the preceding discussion suggests is that a complementary relationship should exist between OSHA regulations and consensus standards. As a matter of policy, OSHA should take advantage of valid consensus standards and use them in enforcement, mindful of the fact that consensus standards are not written to address every foreseeable circumstance. OSHA will spend less money developing regulations, and, armed with common sense, consensus standards, and reasonable discretion, OSHA compliance officers can do their job more effectively. For the consensus standards developer, OSHA regulation can provide an alternative to stalemate when consensus cannot be achieved. In addition, such action is also in accordance with the recently approved (October 26, 1993) Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119 Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Standards (See Appendix B). For those almost unresolvable issues of standards setting, the ASSE recommends more use of the negotiated rulemaking option as critical safety and health standards need to be available.

ASSE POLICY IMPLICATIONS

ASSE Supports Consensus Standard Alternatives to Federal Regulation

ASSE encourages support of consensus standards activities and processes as an alternative to government regulation of occupational safety and health whenever conditions permit. When compared to government regulation, consensus standard activities allow for greater participation by ASSE professionals in the development of safety and health practices. Also, since consensus standards do not profess to address every possible situation, ASSE professionals also have greater influence in the application and interpretation of consensus standards than they do with federal regulations.

Implications for OSHA Reform

ASSE encourages support of OSHA reforms that foster the use of consensus standards in enforcement when a standard does not exist, is inadequate, or is obsolete/dated. For safety professionals/practitioners to realize greater opportunities to apply their professional skill and judgement, consensus standards must, in some sense, be authoritative. Without such authority, safety and health professionals may not have sufficient influence and resources to properly do their jobs. For consensus standards to be authoritative. OSHA must be able to routinely rely on provisions of consensus standards in enforcement.

Since national consensus standards do not contemplate every possible scenario, there exists a need for interpretation of the standards based upon professional judgement. When such standards are used in the regulatory enforcement process, federal/state agencies should rely primarily, although not exclusively, upon the view of those who wrote the standards. Facilitation of agency needs should be provided promptly in a collegial manner.

ASSE's View of Government Regulation

While government regulation appears fundamental to safety/health standardization, it should, nevertheless, be efficient, participative, and centralized. The regulated community will more likely view these characteristics as a value added process where they are encouraged to provide input. Having regulations developed centrally reduces the need for each jurisdiction to prepare their own standards. Having multiple standards bodies presents many difficulties for the regulated community that has facilities in many jurisdictions.

Standards need to be written for the regulated community to readily understand and implement. If standards were more clearly written, compliance directives would not be needed as an interpretation would be obvious. Standards often appear written more for ease of enforcement or to help the solicitors prevail in legal proceedings. Enabling legislation may be necessary, in this situation, to achieve the desired results.

These regulatory standards often have some requirements which have little to do with achievement of safety and health objectives. Some of this may result from OSHA's approach in writing standards in a one-size-fits-all style. These standards should require only what is necessary to achieve a reasonable reduction in risk. Layers of documentation and written certifications are often extras that add compliance burden with little safety/health accomplishment. If enabling legislation is needed to obtain these results, such action may be necessary.

Standards, developed by OSHA or any agency, need a user panel review before they are published in final form. Enabling legislation or appropriate regulation may be required to obtain this result.

Standards covering similar issues in the same Part or across different Parts of OSHA standards should have the same requirements, unless the hazards are very different.

OSHA should have an active process to review standards and update them on a five (5) year cycle after a period of experience in application to harmonize them with the more current consensus standards.
The standards making/regulatory process should factor in a requirement to allow visits of sites/personnel in the regulated community at any time in the development of a standard to review how issues proposed or being developed for regulation are currently being managed and the costs of managing these issues.

The above features should be put forth or considered as desirable tasks of rule-making when legislators or regulators move toward development of such regulatory standards.

CONCLUSION

The ASSE supports a complementary relationship between OSHA regulations and consensus standards related to occupational safety and health which uses valid consensus standards enforcement, mindful of the fact that consensus standards are not written to address every foreseeable circumstance. ASSE points out that action of this nature may empower and enhance the professional stature of both ASSE members and OSHA compliance officers. Most importantly, such action will allow for a more efficient and responsive use of occupational safety and health resources thereby improving working conditions.

To further set in place the Society's view of national consensus standards per se Appendix A is provided. This policy position was approved by the Board of Directors on March 5, 1990. In essence the position looks at consensus voluntary standards apart from regulations while covering the range of issues involved in effective participating in the uniquely American system of standards making.

 

 

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