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Safety Is No Accident! Standards Support Occupational Safety during North American Occupational Safety and Health Week

Employee safety is a high priority for workplaces in every industry. As the U.S., Canada, and Mexico highlight this key issue during North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week, standards are in place to improve workplace conditions across the globe.

North American Occupational Safety Week (NAOSH), held on May 2-8, 2010, aims to focus employers, employees, and the public on the importance of preventing injury and illness in the workplace, at home, and in the community.

NAOSH Week is led by the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE) in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC), in concert with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) and partners in Mexico.

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A managerial perspective of addressing workplace safety is detailed in an American National Standard (ANS) developed by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), a member an accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI/AIHA Z10-2005, American National Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, provides critical requirements and guidelines for improvement of occupational health and safety based on recommendations from labor, government, professional organization, and industry experts.

While many occupations have unique workplace safety concerns to address, some considerations, such as noise levels, can be found across a myriad of industries. ANSI S12.19-1996 (R2006), Measurement of Occupational Noise Exposure, is an ANS developed by the Acoustical Society of America, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer, that presents methods to measure the amount of noise that a person is exposed to in the workplace. Once the noise level is ascertained, steps can be taken to prevent hearing loss, such as those detailed in ANSI/ASSE A10.46-2007, Hearing Loss Prevention in Construction and Demolition Workers, an ANS developed by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Protection for the eyes and face are also key elements to workplace safety for many occupations, such as machinery operations, material welding and cutting, chemical handling, and assembly operations. ANSI Z87.1-2003, Practice for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection, is an ANS developed by Accredited Standards Committee Z87. The secretariat for this committee is the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer. This document sets forth criteria related to the description, general requirements, testing, marking, selection, care, and use of protectors to minimize or prevent injuries from hazards such as impact, non-ionizing radiation, and chemicals.

Thanks to standards, workers nationwide can be productive and successful without risking their health or safety.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]