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ASSE Urges OSHA To Utilize Consensus Standards
September 16, 2010

In a recent letter to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the proposed ‘Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment’ rule (29 CFR, Part 1910), the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) urged OSHA to utilize existing fall standards and the voluntary consensus standards process widely used in industry as it develops the new rule.

ASSE believes the process and the end users would be better served if standards such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) ANSI/ASSE Z359 Fall Arrest Code as well as the ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007 Safety Requirements for Workplace Walking/Working Surfaces and Their Access; Workplace Floor, Wall and Roof Openings; Stairs and Guardrails Systems standards were utilized in developing the OSHA rule.

A voluntary consensus standard is a documented agreement, established by a consensus of subject matter experts and approved by a recognized body that provides rules, guidelines or characteristics to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. Voluntary consensus standards developed by industry in accordance with ANSI’s procedures for due process, openness and consensus are often subsequently adopted by the government as part of the regulatory framework. Currently, ASSE is secretariat for 11 standards projects overseeing several committees made up of subject matter experts.

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