Approved August 22, 2019

Effective January 1, 2020

The Z10 committee began its work in 1999 and the standard was originally approved in 2005, revised in 2012, reaffirmed in 2017, and significantly revised in 2019.


To encourage the use of management system principles and guidelines for occupational health and safety among American organizations.

This is a voluntary consensus standard. It uses recognized management system principles in order to be compatible with quality and environmental management system standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001. The standard also draws from approaches used by the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Guidelines on Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and from systems in use in organizations in the U.S.

While it is not the intent of this document to duplicate requirements covered in ISO 45001, this standard provides a level of alignment and interpretation of those requirements relative to a U.S. perspective on the ISO standard.

ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 focuses primarily on the strategic levels of policy and the processes to ensure the policy is effectively carried out. The standard does not provide detailed procedures, job instructions or documentation mechanisms. Each organization must design these according to their needs.

The design of ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 encourages integration with other management systems to facilitate organizational effectiveness using the elements of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model as the basis for continual improvement. PDCA was popularized by Dr. W. Edwards Deming and is used as a framework by most management system standards

Key concepts:

  • Context of the organization – strategic considerations
  • Understanding the needs and expectations of workers and other interested parties
  • Management leadership
  • Worker participation
  • Education, training and competence
  • Awareness and communication
  • Risk assessment
  • Hierarchy of controls
  • Occupational health
  • Monitoring, measurement and assessment
  • Incident investigation
  • Audits
  • Corrective actions
  • Feedback and organizational learning

Changes to ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019:

As the publication of ISO 45001 accounts for the greatest development in the field of occupational health and safety standardization since the previous publication of ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 in 2012, ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 underwent significant updates to better align it with the high-level structure of ISO 45001.

The changes made to ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 to synchronize it with ISO 45001:2018 include:

  • The addition of Section 4, “Context of the Organization – Strategic Considerations” (this also helps organizations consider internal and external issues when planning their OHSMS).
  • The replacement of the definition of “employee” with a definition of “worker.” This potentially broadens the coverage of the management system to include certain workers who are not employed by the organization.
  • New Section 7, “Support,” which features resources, education, training and competence, communication, and document control process.
  • The conversion from the traditional two-column format to a single column. This facilitates electronic access, and most of the previous right column explanatory material was either converted to notes or added to Annex A.

However, not all changes to the standard resulted from harmonization with the international standard for OHSMS. ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 dates back to 2005, and its most recent revision took place in 2012. Throughout this time, there have been numerous advancements in the field of occupational health and safety, which are reflected in the ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 standard. Changes to ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 to reflect this include:

  • The inclusion of worker input and involvement in determining an acceptable level of risk.
  • New section 8.2, “Identification of OHSMS Issues.”
  • New occupational health information in 8.8 to emphasize the importance of occupational health in the overall OHSMS.
  • New emphasis on organizational learning and feedback in 9.5. These two concepts are critical to successful management system implementation.
  • Updates throughout regarding the integration of the OHSMS with business systems.

Users should be aware that ANSI/ASSP Z10.0-2019 revises ANSI/ASSE Z10-2012, and the removal of ASSE in the standard designation resulted from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) changing its name to the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) in 2018. 

Comparison with ISO 45001:

The ANSI/ASSP Z10-2019 revision is structured to be compatible with ISO 45001 to help users achieve conformance with both standards. However, North American users will find ANSI/ASSP Z10 to be easier to understand and implement because some of the terms and concepts in ISO 45001 do not translate easily across countries. A separate Implementation Guidance Manual will be published with the standard that users of both ANSI/ASSP Z10 and ISO 45001 will find useful. A Small and Medium Enterprise Implementation Guide will also be published to help smaller organizations adopt the basic principles, if not all the details, of the standard.

The Z10 revision drops the word “employee” in favor of “worker” to reflect changes in work force arrangements and to be consistent with ISO 45001. Section 4 on strategic considerations and context helps the user understand the needs and expectations of the organization, its workers, and other interested parties, including regulatory agencies.

Z10 guidance and implementation manual:

The manual contains cutting-edge thinking on a variety of health and safety topics:

  • The manual promotes a new view of health and safety as active, not passive. This concept expands beyond the historical view of safety as merely the absence of injury or freedom from unacceptable risk. Organizations should see health and safety not as outcomes to be achieved but as dynamic processes to be managed, resulting or emerging from the interactions of the management system’s components. For example, building error-tolerant systems and learning from work as performed are key elements of health and safety. 
  • The guidance manual has a chapter on integrating occupational health—including medical issues, industrial hygiene, and total worker health—into the OHSMS. 
  • A separate chapter discusses prevention of fatal and serious injuries and illnesses, or FSII. Companies with effective safety programs as measured by most traditional indicators may still experience FSII. Because these events are typically infrequent, their causes and precursors may sometimes be overlooked. The chapter explains how FSII prevention activities require a greater focus on a set of risk-based tools and techniques that need to be integrated into an effective OHSMS. 
  • The metrics and measurement chapter provides helpful information on leading and lagging indicators. Lagging indicators, including many of the familiar injury and illness statistics, are measures of outcome, while leading indicators can be predictive or can drive activities that lead to better performance. The chapter explains how metrics can be used to manage and improve health and safety, and not merely to monitor outcomes. 


Thomas Slavin, CIH, CSP, CSHM, CPEA, FAIHA, is a consulting industrial hygienist for Cardno ChemRisk and a member of the ANSI/ASSP Z10 committee. Published in the AIHA’s The Synergist https://synergist.aiha.org/201903-active-health-and-safety