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Prevention-Through-Design Standard Promoted
January 21, 2010

Addressing the fact that workplace incidents can be prevented through design, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) recently launched the Z790 Standards Initiative to develop the Prevention Through Design (PTD): Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes standard.

PTD or safety through design is the integration of hazard analysis and risk assessment methods early in the design and engineering stages and taking the actions necessary so that risks of injury or damage are prevented. Recent studies indicate that approximately 40% of work-related fatalities are design related. PTD is described as an approach that can eliminate or reduce work-related hazards by designing them out of the project. The new PTD ASSE standard will assist SH&E professionals and others to increase their knowledge on the occupational safety, health and environmental issues in the design/ redesign process and address how to prevent or minimize work-related hazards associated with facilities, materials, and equipment during construction, manufacture, use, maintenance and disposal/demolition.

ASSE’s PTD technical report provides guidance on PTD concepts and processes as a specifically identified element in a safety and health management system, so that decisions pertaining to occupational risks are incorporated into the design and redesign processes, including consideration of the life cycle of facilities, materials, and equipment.

ASSE is currently reviewing the draft Z790 document and setting up stakeholder meetings for those wishing to comment on the draft. Following this, ASSE will process the standard through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) canvass process.

Also, on February 17th, ASSE will be host to a webinar titled Prevention Through Design – Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes which will discuss ASSE’s PTD technical report, share insights on how PTD is being implemented in a variety of industries and discuss international standards activities. See the ASSE website for more details.

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