American and European Safety Standards

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.
Barry Spud

Barry Spud

Safety Crusader, Zero Harm Zealot and Compliance Controller at Everything Safety
Barry Spud
What is a Safety Spud? Lets look at a few more spud head activities in risk and safety: 1. Coming on to site saying there is a safety issue when in fact there’s no such thing, it’s a political issue. 2. ‘Falling apart’ when people make choices that we think are stupid because they won’t do as we ‘tell’ them. Then we put on the angry face and think that overpowering others creates ownership. 3. Putting on the zero harm face, presenting statistics, knowing it has nothing to do with culture, risk or safety. 4. Putting on the superman (hazardman) suit and pretending to be the saviour of everything, this is good spud head cynic stuff. 5. Thinking that everyone else is a spud head except me. 6. Thinking there’s such a thing as ‘common’ sense and using such mythology to blame and label others. 7. Accepting safety policies and processes that dehumanize others. 8. Blaming, ego-seeking, grandstanding and territory protecting behind the mask of safety. 9. Thinking that risk and safety is simple when in fact it is a wicked problem. Denying complexity and putting your spud head in the sand. 10. Continually repeating the nonsense language and discourse of risk aversion that misdirect people about risk, safety, learning and imagination.

Do you have any thoughts? Please share them below