March 2012
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The issue with safety

The issue with safety not ratednot ratednot ratednot ratednot rated

OSHA rules may not always reference current consensus standards

by Harry Dietz
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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) construction industry regulations contain a number of provisions designed to ensure worker safety—personal fall-arrest systems (PFAs) and personal protective equipment (PPE) are two examples.

In some regulations, OSHA states the criteria equipment must meet to be compliant. Consensus standards, such as those developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), are cited in other regulations as benchmarks for employers to follow when selecting equipment for workers to use.

Some OSHA regulations reference earlier ANSI standards the agency has not yet updated to more current versions. Newer ANSI standards applicable to PPE, for example, generally set out stricter test protocols, equipment design features and other manufacturing requirements for PPE used to protect workers. Many manufacturers also have introduced problem-solving, innovative products that can make OSHA compliance more readily achievable and enhance worker safety.

It is important to note OSHA does not test, approve, certify or endorse any equipment or product. Those who market safety and health products often mistakenly state their products are "OSHA-approved" when, in fact, the agency does not have such authority or capability. It is acceptable for a company to market a product as being "OSHA-compliant" if it has performed the necessary testing under requisite conditions to verify a product meets minimum...



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