ANSI Dismisses Latest Appeal to Withdraw Construction Musculoskeletal Consensus Standard

On July 17, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) dismissed the latest appeal brought by the Construction Industry Employer Coalition to withdraw the adoption of the approved voluntary consensus standard aimed to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in the construction industry. This was the last appeal allowable under the ANSI appeals process.

The standard, “Reduction of Musculoskeletal Problems in Construction” (ANSI/ASSE A10.40-2007), is designed to reduce incidences of MSDs. It includes risk elimination, substitution, use of engineering controls, administrative changes, training, use of protective equipment and assessment of individuals’ physical capabilities.

The Construction Industry Employer Coalition, a coalition of five trade associations of U.S. construction interests, filed an appeal challenging the standard’s adoption after ANSI approved the standard in late 2006. After a May 2007 hearing of formal complaints, the ANSI appeals panel unanimously found that the appeal complaints were without merit. ANSI’s Board of Standards Review (BSR) approved the standard on July 23, 2007 after extensive review of the procedures and the record.

In October 2007, the Coalition filed a request with ANSI to temporarily retract the approval of the standard, but BSR decided not to rescind the approval of A10.40 as a consensus standard while an appeal was pending. The Coalition unsuccessfully appealed this decision in November 2007, and then filed another appeal on May 5, 2008. Under ANSI procedures, this would be their final appeal.

BSR denied the previous appeal on the grounds that insufficient evidence was provided by the Coalition in support of its appeal to demonstrate that the ASC 10 Committee failed to obtain a consensus of materially affected interests with respect to the A10.40 standard, that the committee was unbalanced or dominated by one interest group, that the committee failed adequately to respond to comments or that any procedural requirements were violated or overlooked.

"National consensus standards, such as A10.40, reflect the insights of the final users and the opinions of professionals who work at all levels of public and private sectors in technology development, safety and health, manufacturing, training, financial analysis, personnel and academia," said A10 Committee Chair Richard King. "This balanced perspective enables standards to be crafted in a manner that benefits and protects standard users."

The standard notes that construction workers and supervisors should be trained to recognize risk factors and ways to reduce the risk of MSDs through proper work techniques. Employee participation and injury management program also are discussed in the standard. In addition, A10.40 includes a risk assessment guide, a construction MSD problem checklist, a return-to-work checklist, a list of resources, key terms and definitions and a list of non-occupational risk factors associated with work-related MSDs such as age, strength and gender.

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