Regardless of their occupation, protecting workers from health and safety hazards on the job should start with preventative strategies, which includes implementing safety standards. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is proud to support the development of critical workplace-safety related standards that help ensure safety comes first, no matter the setting.
In a 2015 report, Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) highlights outcomes of workplace injuries and illnesses, detailing how injuries impose heavy costs on employees, families, and the economy. Injuries have more than lasting physical effects, for example, as workers earn an average of 15 percent less over 10 years following an injury.
While a key aspect of workplace safety is the measures that assure safe and healthful working conditions for employees as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers should also put comprehensive plans into action to prevent millions of injuries and illnesses that happen each year.
ANSI makes available numerous standards related to workplace safety in its directory of safety standards, including the recently updated American National Standard (ANS) ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015, Workplace First Aid Kits and Supplies, which introduces two classes of first aid kits. The Class A kits include contents designed for the most common types of workplace injuries, while Class B kits include a broader range and quantity of supplies to deal with injuries in more complex or high-risk environments. By expanding the items on the basic first aid kit, employees have greater access to items needed to treat common workplace injuries. ANSI/ISEA Z308.1-2015 was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA).
Another ANS, 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, sets forth safety requirements in industrial and workplace situations and serves to protect workers in areas where danger exists of people or objects falling through floor, roof, or wall openings; from platforms, runways, ramps, and fixed stairs; or from roof edges in normal, temporary, and emergency conditions. ANSI/ASSE A1264.1-2007 was developed by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.
Other high-risk workplace environments include settings with volatile substances. ANSI Z400.1/Z129.1-2010, Hazardous Workplace Chemicals-Hazard Evaluation and Safety Data Sheet (SDS) and Precautionary Labeling Preparation, offers a wide range of information, including material identity, manufacturer information, hazard classification, emergency information, instructions on what to do if a hazardous situation has occurred, information on the prevention of hazardous situations, and other technical guidance. This ANS was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the American Chemistry Council (ACC).
ANSI/ISO 12100:2012, Safety of Machinery- General Principles for Design-Risk Assessment and Risk Reduction, specifies basic terminology, principles, and a methodology for achieving safety in the design of machinery. The document was published by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 199, Safety of machinery, and adopted as an American National Standard through the work of B11 Standards Inc., the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for ISO TC 199.
This month, ANSI and its U.S. National Committee (USNC) of the IEC published the summer 2015 edition of the USNC Current newsletter, featuring expert commentary on safety standards in the electrotechnical sector.
For more on workplace safety standards, click here.