American and European Safety Standards
Are they the same or different?
Consider the following 3 Health and Safety standards:
- OSHA’s Safety & Health Program Management Guidelines of 1987
- OHSAS 18001: 2007 Occupation Health and Safety Assessment Series
- ANSI Z10 – 2005 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
There are many similarities between these standards. The clearly common threads are:
- All three take a comprehensive management system approach to managing safety and health in the workplace and yet are written to be easily tailored to a specific organization.
- All three include four basic tenets of effective safety management: management commitment, employee involvement, hazard analysis and safety and health training.
- All three are voluntary, performance based standards.
There are many differences between these three standards, some obvious ones are:
- The OSHA and ANSI standards are written for and by the USA, whereas OHSAS 18001 was written by organizations representing Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Great Britain, and other international organizations.
- The ANSI and OHSAS standards are founded on the continuous improvement technique of “Plan, Do, Check, Act” model. The OSHA standard is not based on any continuous improvement model.
- The OSHA standard is quite old compared to the other two. It was created in a time where safety was more of a policing role rather than a risk management role. Therefore, the OSHA standard is more in a tone of compliance, the other two standards are much more like toolkits to help organizations.