Date adopted: July 25, 2005

Back story

Work started on Z10 in March, 1999. Almost 100 safety and health professionals spent six years drafting and reworking the document. The Z10 standard for occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) is now titled ANSI/ASSP Z10-2012 (R2017) – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.

While there are no technical revisions to the document, circumstances of its development have changed — reflected in the new title. When the standard was approved in 2005 it was published under the title of ANSI/AIHA Z10. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) was at the time the secretariat of the ANSI Accredited Standards Committee Z10 since its official approval in 1999.

Following a revision of the standard in 2012, AIHA relinquished the Z10 Committee, along with the copyright to the Z10 standard, to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) — now the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP). Because of this change, the acronym “ASSP” has been substituted for “AIHA” in several places throughout the ANSI/ASSP Z10-2012 (R2017) standard.


ANSI/ASSP Z10-2012 (R2017) defines minimum requirements for an occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS). OHSMSs, much like quality management systems or environmental management systems, are used by many organizations worldwide for clear and achievable benefits. Recognized management system principles guiding Z10 make it compatible with other management system standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

Integration is aided by the incorporation of elements of the Plan-Do-Check Act (PDCA) model for processes at different levels of the organization.

Benefits/The business case

Z10’s PDCA can be leveraged to enable any organization to sustain continual improvement, an enhanced corporate reputation, reduced corporate safety and  health risks, better employee and leadership engagement, and enable a company of any size to be seen as best-in-class regarding safety and health programs, much like OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program.  Z10 for more than a decade has been the U.S. benchmark for occupational safety and health management systems, and now can be looked at as the forerunner to the global ISO 45001.

It’s been said if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. That’s one way of looking at the value of Z10. Understanding variables that can impact safety, how they interact, and integrating controls for those variables within normal business processes, within an organization that provides for safety leadership, employee engagement and goals alignment, are essential building blocks for a culture of safety and health. More importantly, your actions define broader business culture values.

Organizations that adopt the Z10 standard have safety and health activities and processes in place that can be understood and integrated within the rest of the organization. Expectations can be set and understood. It can provide for a common understanding, enhance communication and align decision-making processes. This is a means to brand and communicate your business culture and values – both enterprise-wide and specifically for occupational safety and health.

Z10 can result in positive financial results, both direct and indirect, due to how safety performance is linked to other operational metrics.

Key provisions

  • ANSI/ASSP Z10-2012 (R2017) is a strictly voluntary standard.  It addresses the many aspects reducing the risk of occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities, covering background information, the role of leadership, responsibility, employee participation, the review process, and identifying operational objectives.
  • Employers shall establish and implement processes to identify and control hazards; assess the level of risk for identified hazards; use the hierarchy of controls to achieve acceptable risk levels; and avoid bringing hazards into the workplace through design, material specs, and procurement.
  • A hazard is a condition, set of circumstances, or inherent property that can cause injury, illness or death. A risk combines the likelihood of a hazardous event or exposure occurring and the severity of injury or illness that may result.
  • Management  leadership shall direct the organization to establish, implement and sustain an OHSMS. Senior leaders shall provide leadership and assume overall responsibility.
  • A process shall be established and implemented to ensure effective participation in the OHSMS by employees at all levels of the organization.
  • A process shall be established and implemented to assess health and safety hazards and the level of risk for identified hazards. Priorities are to be set based on the level of risk, potential for system improvements, standards, regulations and potential business consequences. Underlying causes related to system deficiencies are to be identified as well.
  • Risks are to be reduced following the preferred hierarchy of risk controls: elimination; substitution of less hazardous materials, processes, operations or equipment; engineering controls; warnings; administrative controls; and personal protection equipment (PPE).
  • A process for design review and management of change shall include identifying tasks and related health and safety hazards; considering hazards associated with human factors; considering control measures (hierarchy of controls); reviewing applicable regulations, codes and standards; and determining the appropriate scope and degree of the design review and management of change.
  • Processes shall be established and used to 1) conduct periodic audits to determine if hazards have been identified and risks controlled; 2) document and communicate audit findings to enable corrective and preventive actions and all affected employees; and 3) immediately communicate situations identified in audits that could cause serious injury, illness or fatality in the immediate future. Audits should be conducted by individuals independent of the activities being examined. Audits do not need to be conducted by outside consultants.

Update news

The 104-page standard was revised in 2012, approved by ANSI, and reaffirmed and published in 2017 by ASSP. The next revision is expected in 2019.

Compliance assistance

ANSI/ASSP Z10-2012 (R2017) – Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems is available on the ANSI Webstore and the product store on the ASSP website.


The next revision of the Z10 standard is scheduled to be published by spring of 2019. It will include several new topics and useful tools. Organizations needing a roadmap to occupational health and safety improvement, wanting to know what some of the best managed companies are doing, wanting to manage programs consistent with a national standard, or just seeking excellent information, should take a look when available.

According to Greg Zigulis of Sixth Sense Safety and a member of the Z10 Committee, the Z10 Committee is considering revisions that include:

  • Reformatting to align more closely to ISO management systems standards such as 45001, while maintaining a detailed Annex;
  • Addition of requirements for assessment of “context” of the organization;
  • Addition of an implementation guidance document with discussion on subjects like “systems thinking,” the “New View” of safety, dynamic risk assessment, organizational resilience, workplace violence prevention guidelines, and serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention;
  • Implementation guidance for smaller businesses;
  • Increased emphasis on the “health” part of “health and safety,” to include industrial hygiene concepts, as well as other “health” considerations; and
  • New information on incident investigation techniques with emphasis on organizational learning, the avoidance of a “blame” orientation, and application of systems thinking.