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ANSI Board of Standards Review Rejects Appeal
March 18, 2008

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Standards Review (BSR) recently rejected the appeal brought by the Construction Industry Employer Coalition, a coalition of five trade associations of U.S. construction interests, to withdraw the adoption of the approved voluntary consensus standard Reduction of Musculoskeletal Problems in Construction (ANSI/ASSE A10.40-2007), which aims to reduce musculoskeletal problems/disorders (MSDs) in the construction industry.

In 2006, the ANSI/ASSE A10.40 Committee, a subcommittee of the ANSI/ASSE A10 Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) on Construction and Demolition Operations, balloted the proposed standard to the A10 for approval. Following the approval of the standard by the Committee, the Coalition then filed an appeal challenging the standard’s adoption, and a hearing was held on May 1st, 2007 to hear the formal complaints. On May 25th, 2007, the appeals panel found unanimously that the appeal complaints were without merit and that the Secretariat, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), complied with the ANSI due process requirements in developing the standard. The standard was approved by ANSI’s BSR on July 23rd, 2007.

Soon thereafter, the Coalition noted its intent to appeal the BSR decision and did so on November 9th, 2007. The ANSI BSR held the hearing for the appeal on February 7th, 2008. Pending the conclusion of any further appeals in this matter, the BSR has determined that its original action to approve the A10.40 as an American National Standard stands.

The ANSI BSR denied the appeal on the grounds that insufficient evidence was provided by the Coalition in support of its appeal to demonstrate that the ASC 10 Committee failed to obtain a consensus of materially affected interests with respect to the A10.40 Standard, that the Committee was unbalanced or dominated by one interest group, that the Committee failed adequately to respond to comments or that any procedural requirements were violated or overlooked.

Some of the potential solutions in the standard aimed at reducing incidence of MSDs include risk elimination, substitution, use of engineering controls, administrative changes, training, use of protective equipment and assessment of individuals’ physical capabilities.

The standard also notes that construction workers and supervisors should be trained to recognize risk factors and ways to reduce the risk of MSDs through proper work techniques. Employee participation and injury management program are also discussed in the standard. A10.40 also includes a risk assessment guide, a construction MSD problem checklist, a return-to-work checklist, a list of resources, key terms and definitions and a list of non-occupational risk factors associated with work-related MSDs such as age, strength and gender.

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