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Safety 2012: Comparing OSHA's I2P2 with ANSI Z10

C. Gary Lopez, CSP, didn't mince any words when he offered his opinion on OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Program (I2P2) at the ASSE Safety 2012 conference in Denver: "It's going nowhere fast," he said. But if the standard does come to fruition, Lopez suggests that it would be similar to the voluntary consensus standard ANSI Z10.

"There's only so many ways you can make the wheel round," explained Lopez, a senior risk consultant at Arthur J. Gallagher and Co. "I think OSHA will have few options and will have to pick a model already out there. They will have to recognize the success of existing standards already in use."

While much remains unknown about I2P2's potential scope, safety stakeholders are curious how OSHA might define the standard. Lopez said that OSHAS 18001 and ISO 14001 could serve as potential models a federal I2P2 standard, but he particularly identified ANSI Z10 as "the likely suspect."

ANSI Z10 defines performance requirements for occupational health and safety management systems. Lopez stressed that at its heart, ANSI Z10 is meant to reduce risk. This is reflected in the standard's recent revision, which Lopez says placed more explicit focus on risk. The standard's components include planning, assessment of risk, determination of acceptable risk, implementation of measures necessary to achieve levels of acceptable risk, evaluation of systems and management review of evaluations.

"Risk is the name of the game," Lopez said. "Get used to becoming comfortable with the terms 'risk' and 'risk assessment.' You've probably noticed that lexicon is creeping into our profession. I can tell you risk assessment is what any safety management systems programs will be based on."

"Huge Hurdle" for I2P2

Lopez's presentation came only one day after OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels' plenary session at ASSE, where he declined to provide Safety 2012 attendees with further details about I2P2's progress. For the record, Lopez doesn't think I2P2 has an easy road.

"When it comes to I2P2, with all the issues they've got, I don't care who wins the next presidential election," he said of OSHA's chances to pass the standard. "It's going to be a huge hurdle for them to get that enacted."

Whether I2P2 comes to life or not, Lopez sees a shift on the horizon for EHS professionals – and it all revolves around risk.

"Our approach to managing [EHS] will be more business-like and professional," he explained. "You will evolve. You will become one the management team. Your thinking will change. Your metrics will shift. You're probably going to become a blend of old insurance risk manager and traditional EHS manager," he concluded. "We'll all be risk managers."

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