OSHA: Standards, Systems and Safety

OSHA: Standards, Systems and Safety

By Jeffery C. Camplin  

Standards, Systems and Safety

The key to creating a safe work environment and ensuring an organization’s regulatory compliance is to develop a sound safety management system before OSHA launches an inspection.

An effective safety management system must define: the way hazards identified and evaluated; the way risks are to be assessed and prioritized; and the measures to be taken to eliminate, reduce and control risk in order to attain an acceptable risk level. A safety management system also must align each of the safety programs managers develop to comply with OSHA standards under a safety management umbrella.

To help managers minimize workplace risks and reduce the occurrence and cost of occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed a voluntary consensus standard for occupational safety and health management. ANSI/AIHA/ASSE Z10-2012, Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, is designed to continually improve safety and health performance. It aligns with the traditional plan-do-check-act approach for improving workplace safety and health.

This voluntary consensus standard provides the basic requirements for occupational health and safety management systems, rather than detailed specifications, in order to provide flexibility in a manner appropriate to each organization corresponding with its occupational health and safety risks.

The standard defines goals to be accomplished in generic performance terms, but it leaves the methods to each organization to develop. The standard recognizes that the risks, organizational structure, culture, and other characteristics of each organization are unique and that each organization has to define its own specific measures of performance.

Additional information on the Z10 Standard is available at www.asse.org/assets/1/7/Z10_Tech_Brief_2012_Revised.pdf.

Managers looking to understand OSHA’s inspection process can learn more in OSHA’s guidance document on the compliance inspection process at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha2098.pdf.

— Jeffery Camplin

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  posted on 1/13/2016   Article Use Policy

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