Background of Standard

The history of the ANSI Z10 Standard probably starts with the inception of an environmental standard, the International Standards Organization (ISO), Environmental Management System (EMS) Standard, commonly known as ISO 14001. At the very beginning of the development of this standard the question was asked, "Should safety and health be included in the scope of the standard?" For a variety of reasons this did not happen, but the nagging question never went away.

However, the issue of an ISO safety and health standard did not go away. A proposal was put forth to ISO, (mostly by the European community) to develop a separate ISO safety and health standard.

In response to this a meeting was held in Rosemont, Illinois at which many of the larger US manufacturers met to discuss the need for such an international safety and health standard. The outcome of this meeting was a resounding "NO" to developing an ISO or US standard in this area.

Undeterred, private groups took the BSI 8800 standard (which was a safety programs standard) and turned it into the "18000" standard that is being marketed worldwide. In addition to this group, the International Labor Organization (ILO) jumped into the mix and developed the Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health.

Feeling the time was ripe for another attempt, the concept of an ISO safety and health standard was re-submitted to ISO. This time a majority of members voted in favor of developing the standard. However, the necessary two-thirds vote that is required for initiating a new standard was not forthcoming.

In 1999 the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) jumped into the mix, proposing an ANSI standard for Health and Safety Programs. They were approved as the secretariat the same year, and immediately drew response from the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) who, based on the Rosemont meetings, questioned the need for such a standard. The ASSE appealed to the ANSI board asking that the AIHA not be allowed to proceed as the secretariat. The ASSE lost its appeal to ANSI and the committee was selected, with the first meeting being held February of 2001.

The rationale that the AIHA put forth for the standard was:

  • The standard would create a harmonization with US businesses

  • Improve worker safety and health

  • Help integrate safety, quality, and environmental systems

  • Provide a guidance for a future OSHA standard

  • Enhance US influence internationally.

Several members of the committee also felt that the ANSI standard would in effect represent the U.S. position for any future ISO standards in this area, and if not ISO, it would similarly influence any OSHA activity along the same lines.

The scope of the standard set the objectives of being:

  • A Safety and Health management principles and systems standard

  • A continuous improvement standard

  • A standard that integrates safety and health into the business systems

  • Applicable to all size businesses

  • Compatible with existing standards

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