Use This New Benchmarking Tool
Maybe you missed it, but on September 1 a "very significant event in the history of safety and health management" took place, in the words of a corporate vice president of safety.
Thatâ€™s the day "American National Standard â€“ Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems" was released for public comments. The 62-page document is the closest U.S. employers may ever come to receiving a set of requirements â€“ a blueprint â€“ for how to run a workplace safety and health program.
In this issue of ISHNâ€™s e-newsletter, we take a close look at the standard that could become the benchmark for U.S. industry. After all, OSHA has shied away from setting a safety and health program standard for 35 years, and shows no inclination to do so now.
YOU WONâ€™T BE FORCED
First, you can stop worrying. Thereâ€™s nothing that will force you to comply with this standard. A committee of the American National Standards Institute (the ANSI Z10 committee) drafted the requirements and recommendations â€“ and they are strictly voluntary.
Plus, the standard at this point is a proposal, not a final product. Public comments are being accepted until October 15. You can obtain a copy of the Z10 proposal by visiting www.aiha.org. AIHA â€“ the American Industrial Hygiene Association â€“ has shepherded the standards-setting work since it began in 1999, serving as the secretariat, organizing committee meetings, posting minutes, and providing resources.
Hereâ€™s the real value of the Z10 standard: requirements have been written by some of the sharpest thinkers in occupational safety and health from business, labor, trade groups, professional societies and government agencies. You can tap their experience and use the standard right now, in its proposed form, to see how your safety and health program measures up.
Keep in mind compliance with the Z10 standard doesnâ€™t guarantee success. But what the standard does is lend any safety and health program an organized structure. Many workplace programs are a patchwork quilt of efforts unrelated to each other â€“ hazard communication, lockout-tagout, machine guarding, etc. ANSI Z10 requirements tie together all the loose ends.
GRADE YOUR PROGRAM
Hereâ€™s how to use the ANSI Z10 standard as a checklist to grade your own safety and health program.
Use this grading system:
- "A" â€“ world-class performance
- "B" â€“ you have only minor gaps or shortcomings
- "C" â€“ you have the major pieces in place, but come up short in scattered areas
- "D" â€“ you have significant holes or lapses; you really need more serious focus
- "F" â€“ you have major shortcomings and a long way to go
Give your program a grade for each of the following building blocks of a safety and health program described in the ANSI standard. To do this you must download the PDF of the standard. Read the requirements and recommendations for each category and compare to your program.
- Management leadership
- Responsibilities and authority
- Employee participation
- Program reviews
- Methods for assessments & setting priorities
- Setting objectives
- Ability to implement plans and allocate resources
- Methods used to control hazards
- Integrating safety into design reviews and management of change
- Integrating safety into procurement practices
- Contractor safety
- Emergency preparedness
- Education, training & awareness
- Methods of safety communication
- Ability to document and control safety and health records
- Ability to evaluate problems and take corrective actions
- Exposure monitoring and measurement
- Incident Investigation
- Management review of your safety and health activities
- Documenting reviews and follow-up actions
TO THE POINT
For each program element listed above, the ANSI Z10 standard requirements are briefly worded and very flexible.
For example, requirements for employee participation take no position â€“ for or against â€“ the use of safety committees, safety incentives, discipline or drug testing.
As far as employee participation goes, the standard simply states: Employees and employee representatives shall be provided with the time, resources and mechanisms to partake in safety and health program planning, implementation, evaluations and preventive and corrective actions.
The standard goes on to state that employees shall be provided with timely access to relevant safety and health information. And they shall be encouraged to identify and remove barriers that get in the way of their participation. Examples of obstacles include lack of response to employee suggestions, reprisals by supervisors or other forms of discrimination.
How all of this is done is left up to you.
The ANSI Z10 standard does offer more detailed recommendations for how to carry out its flexible requirements, but they are only suggestions, not mandates.
For example, the standard says effective employee participation "should" include roles in investigating incidents, developing procedures, audits, developing training, and job safety analyses.
Relevant safety and health info that "should" be provided to employees includes results of investigations, monitoring data, ergonomics evaluations, injury and illness data, risk assessments, and safety committee records â€“ if you have a committee.
Again, there is nothing in the standard forcing you to do these things. What is required is that you have a formal process or system covering employee participation that can be documented and evaluated.
The standard is formatted into two columns. Requirements are in the left column and are identified by the word "shall." Requirements for all elements of a program total only about nine pages. If you want to conform to the standard, youâ€™re expected to meet these requirements.
Text in the right column uses the word "should" to describe recommended practices. These descriptions are helpful in benchmarking your own program and assigning a score for your level of performance. But there is nothing mandatory about them.
Here are answers to some questions you might have about the ANSI Z10 standard:
Do I have to scrap my current safety and health program and rebuild it along the lines of the ANSI standard in order to conform?
The standard does not imply that existing programs need to be rebuilt. Any current programs that operate the required elements in a way that is effective and consistent with company policies and objectives should be integrated into the standard.
Who is qualified to oversee implementation of the standard?
This role can be filled by full or part-time in-house personnel or by outside resources. Competence is normally demonstrated through education, training, mentoring, experience, certification, licensing and performance assessment.
No specific certifications or licenses are referenced.
Does the standard specify what methods I should take to control hazards?
Feasible risk reduction is to be based on a preferred order of controls: eliminate the hazard; substitute less hazardous materials, equipment, etc.; use engineering controls; warnings; administrative controls; and finally use personal protective equipment. You continue down the order of controls until the highest-level feasible control is found.
Will consultants certify my compliance with this standard, as with ISO standards?
ANSI Z10 standards-writers steered clear of any ISO-like certification scheme. Still, a number of safety and health experts expect conformance to the standard will eventually be audited and certified by consultants â€“ if the standard progresses from the current proposal to a final, approved set of voluntary requirements.
Remember, an ANSI voluntary standard on ergonomics never made it past the proposal stage, killed by business opposition. Some safety experts predict a similar rough going for the Z10 management systems standard.
So what happens next?
Thatâ€™s what weâ€™ll cover in the next issue of ISHNâ€™s e-newsletter. Weâ€™ll look at the business communityâ€™s reaction to Z10, and prospects for the standard being used by OSHA and being adopted by ISO.
Dave Johnson is the ISHN E-News editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (610) 666-0261; fax (610) 666-1906.
3E Company â€“ Alleviating the pain of HazMat information and compliance management.Are You 2005 DOT Compliant?
Join 3E for a free, educational Web Seminar â€“ A DOT Regulatory Update â€“ part of the 3E HazMat Management Web Seminar series. Technical Specialist, Jacki Burns, will instruct participants on changes in regulations that are applicable to companies transporting hazmat including:
- Incident report changes
- Electronic filing, report updates, one-call reporting
- Expansion of requirements to persons other than carriers
- National safety permit program for high HazMat
- HazMat that is subject to reporting
- Requirements for transport, written plans and communication
When: Thursday, September 23, 2004 Time: 9:00 am Pacific, 11 am Central, 12 pm Eastern Cost: No Cost How: Internet (for both audio and visual) Register here (http://www.3ecompany.com/HazMat_News_Events/eh_s_events.asp?eventtype=WebSeminars") or call today 1-800-346-6737
ASSE technical audioconferenceASSE will be hosting a technical audioconference on October 20th from 11:00 -12:30 CST on the newly approved A10.4-2004, "Safety Requirements for Personnel Hoists and Employees Elevators for Construction and Demolition Operations." The 90-minute conference call includes a copy of the new standard, a copy of the three A10.4 historical standards, powerpoint presentation, Q&A session, and a copy of the audio CD. To register or learn more about this call visit www.asse.org or call ASSE at 847-699-2929.
EH&S jobsNexsteps.org is the new EH&S jobs Web site from ASSE, and features up to the minute Safety and Health listings from dozens of recruiters and job search specialists.
Jot down the Web address for yourself, or pass it on to a friend who might be job hunting â€” www.nexsteps.org
Visit Nexsteps today for the best in EH&S job listings from the nation's premiere safety and health organization.
9th Annual Behavioral Safety NOW conferenceThe premier Behavioral Based Safety Event of 2004 will take place in Reno, NV on October 19th through October 21st. You will not want to miss your opportunity to take advantage of the 9th Annual Behavioral Safety NOW conference.
Some of our featured speakers are: Aubrey Daniels - Aubrey Daniels International, Scott Geller - Safety Performance Solutions, Don Little - Liberty Mutual, Rixio Medina - U.S. Chemical Safety Board, Terry McSween - Quality Safety Edge, Jim Spigener - Behavioral Science Technology, just to name a few.
The two-day conference includes keynote presentations, break-out sessions and many case studies relating to Behavioral Based Safety. We also offer a selection of pre-conference workshops.
We are very excited about the quality of our 2004 conference and we hope to see you there! Check out the Behavioral Safety NOW web site for all of the conference details and to register at www.behavioralsafetynow.com.
See you in Reno!!
The Safety CoachÂ® Saysâ€¦ You Can Champion Change!Overview: Very few people understand how individuals and groups come to accept and embrace cultural change in safety. Each of us works through various cycles of change ultimately committing to what is necessary if the change is handled appropriately.
This book will not only help you to understand the four cycles of change but will allow you to engage champions for change who will want to make the evolution toward safety excellence a reality in your organization. This book will make any reader believe that positive change is possible. It also highlights the eight most critical components of safety culture change.
The Safety CoachÂ® Says â€¦ is in story form â€” and its four main characters will engage and entertain you, as well as your future champions of change. Forward by Dave Johnson, Editor, Industrial Safety & Hygiene News. Item #SC008-BK
Orders can be made by visiting: www.davidsarkus.com/estore_book.html.
Single book orders are $19.95 + $5.00 for shipping and handling. For bulk orders please phone: 1-800-240-4601
Books from ASSEYou can order these titles and more from the American Society of Safety Engineers Bookstore on ISHN's Web site. Visit â€” http://www.ishn.com/FILES/HTML/ISHN_ASSE_index/
Among the books you'll find:
- "Refresher Guide for the Safety Fundamentals Exam"
- "The Participation Factor," by Dr. E. Scott Geller
- "Safety Training That Delivers"
- "Building a Better Safety and Health Committee"
- "Safety Management - A Human Approach," and "Techniques of Safety Management - A Systems Approach," both by Dan Petersen.
MARKET RESEARCHISHN offers exclusive market research survey reports including White Papers, Online Training Editorial Study, Web-based Training Study, Salary Study, Hygiene Instrument Study, PPE Study, and more... CLICK HERE http://www.ishn.com/FILES/HTML/ISHN_market_research_index/0,5680,,00.html to learn more about these studies.
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WE NEED YOU!Are you a safety and health pro or a manufacturer or provider of occupational safety and health products or services who enjoys writing?
Shakespeare need not apply, but ISHN is looking for authors to publish short articles (1,000 words) in our monthly issues.
Topics include: safety success stories, close calls and personal experiences, training tips, use of software, engineering controls (machine guards, lockout-tagout), gas detection and air monitoring, confined space safety, personal protective equipment, and OSHA compliance issues.
If any of these topics interest you â€” or if you have other ideas â€” e-mail editor Dave Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will also consider articles youâ€™ve already written but not submitted to any safety magazine.