The standard was written to help organizations improve the way they handle training relating to safety, health, and environmental issues. The standard is intended to offer performance-oriented guidance on all the essential elements of an effective training process. Prescriptive requirements have generally been avoided in the document. Organizations that adopt the standard should see an improvement in their training efforts and the results obtained within their operations.
ANSI standards generally do not have the force of law. They can and in some cases have been adopted by reference but this is not the most common situation. Z490 has not been adopted by reference and so it is not mandatory. The committee believes it is a useful document and encourages its use but it is not required. While adopting or not adopting the standard as a guide for an organization's training process is entirely voluntary, if an organization does decide to adopt it, then the required elements must be treated as mandatory. The standard is set up to allow organizations involved with any phase of the training process to implement the requirements appropriate to the phase.
The standard is published using a two-column format. Required elements of the standard are given in the left column. Explanatory elements are listed in the right column. There are also a number of annexes the provide non-mandatory but, we hope, useful information.
The title "Accepted" instead of "Best" was intentional. This was an issue that was debated and the final determination was to try to write a standard that would help the broadest possible audience. The committee also felt that "Best" is a continuously moving objective and that it would not have been practical from the standpoint of the committee writing the standard nor from the perspective of the user to aim at only describing best practices. We felt that providing a good foundation of accepted practices would provide the maximum benefit to the most users.
The first two chapters cover scope, purpose, and application and provide definitions of critical terms used in the standard.
The remaining chapters cover each of the major components of the training process:
Training program administration and management
Documentation and record keeping
The standard promotes integrating the training process within the overall safety and health process. There is also an emphasis on identifying and applying appropriate techniques at each step in the process rather than a requirement for specific methods.
The identification and provision of appropriate resources is an essential element of administration and management. This issue is emphasized in the standard. Establishing clear accountability for each part of the training process is also important.
This section of the standard refers to each of the following chapters as essential elements of the training process and requires that the management of the process include addressing the issue covered in each of the remaining chapters.