Are You Ready for Z10?

Organizations looking to improve their occupational health and safety performance, productivity, financial performance, and other business objectives now have a new tool.

It's called ANSI/AIHA Standard Z10, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, and it is a voluntary standard designed to help businesses comprehensively integrate occupational health and safety management into business practices and systems.

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) led the development of the standard as secretariat for the Z10 Committee, which included experts from labor, government, professional organizations and industry. The standard was recently approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

"This gives you a road map to help you come up with the elements of an occupational safety and health management system, the kind that world class companies are already using," commented Z-10 member James Smith, director of risk control services at Arthur J. Galagher's Florida office.

Smith listed some of the elements contained in the new standard:

  • Communication;
  • Education;
  • Employee participation;
  • Management leadership;
  • How to measure if safety interventions are successful.

Smith, who represented the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) on the committee, pointed to one disappointment with the final product.

"This standard doesn't identify who is to coordinate the management system process," said Smith. "Most companies with a management system have an EHS professional who does that."

While the committee debated this issue, Smith said no consensus was reached.

"From our point of view," commented Bill Kojola, an industrial hygienist who represented the AFL-CIO on the committee, "there is substantial worker involvement woven throughout the entire document a critically important element."

Kojola also thought the fact that the final document was approved without a single dissenting vote was a major accomplishment.

"There's been a very strong anti-regulatory environment ever since the Bush administration took over," he said. "It's really quite remarkable that this document saw the light of day."

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