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OSHA and National Consensus Standards

- May 16, 2017 by Guest Bloggers (View all posts by Guest)

What do ANSI, NFPA, ASME and ASTM all have in common? If you said the letter A, you are partially correct; however, if you stated that these were all national consensus standards recognized by OSHA, then you are even more correct.

Did you know that OSHA standards were originally developed from three sources: Consensus Standards, Proprietary Standards and Federal laws. In this blog, I will focus on consensus standards.

In 1910.2(g) defines ‘National consensus standard’ to mean any standard or modification thereof which (1) has been adopted and promulgated by a nationally recognized standards-producing organization under procedures whereby it can be determined by the Secretary of Labor or by the Assistant Secretary of Labor that persons interested and affected by the scope or provisions of the standard have reached substantial agreement on its adoption, (2) was formulated in a manner which afforded an opportunity for diverse views to be considered, and (3) has been designated as such a standard by the Secretary or the Assistant Secretary, after consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies.

Consensus standards are national in scope and are developed by a committee of experts within a particular field and are often developed through subject subcommittees. An example of a consensus standard is ANSI standard B56.1-1969, standard for Powered Industrial Trucks.

In the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), such as CFR 1910.178 will often refer to a consensus standard as reference. If a consensus standard is referenced, language that states the employer, shall, must or will can be used by OSHA officers to cite employers that are not complying with the consensus standard.

In conclusion, the CFRs are not the only citable reference for OSHA compliance officers, references to consensus standards and violation of those standards can be citable as well.