Government affairs and standards development are closely linked areas of the occupational safety and health profession. Changes in one area always influence the other. ASSP provided important updates on both topics in its free webinar on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. ASSP staff members Tim Fisher and Joe Weiss were joined by Jim Thornton, CSP, CIH, chair of the Government Affairs Committee, and Brian Hammer, vice chair of the Standards Development Committee, for a conversation that covered a wide range of topics.
The panel talked about the proposed 2021 federal budget, pending workplace violence and heat stress prevention legislation, and what the federal government is doing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, they explained the various ways ASSP works with agencies like OSHA on emerging regulations and employer guidance, and with agencies like NIOSH on emerging topics like total worker health.
On the standards front, ASSP has nearly 120 standards, technical reports, subgroups and projects, and about 1,300 OSH professionals work on voluntary consensus standards. ASSP’s standards and technical reports cover a wide range of topics, from construction and demolition operations, OSH training, and fall protection to safety management systems, risk assessment, workplace violence and fleet safety, to lockout/tagout, hydrogen sulfide training and ventilation. ASSP is also working on standards related to multi-employer sites in construction and demolition, drones and psychosocial issues in safety.
Our panel talked about the consensus process and how interested people can participate. They explained how voluntary consensus standards are used by organizations and how a federal agency such as OSHA uses these documents when drafting new regulations. They also highlighted the standards for which ASSP is secretariat, including ANSI/ASSP A10, Z359, Z244, Z10 and ISO 45001 and 31000, and explained the costs involved in developing and publishing voluntary consensus standards.
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