From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

ANSI Board Rejects Appeal To Block Construction Ergonomics Standard

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Board of Standards Review (BSR) rejected the appeal brought by the Construction Industry Employer Coalition, a coalition of five trade associations of U.S. construction interests, to withdraw the adoption of the approved voluntary consensus standard “reduction of Musculoskeletal Problems in Construction” (ANSI/ASSE A10.40-2007), which aims to reduce musculoskeletal problems/disorders (MSDs) in the construction industry.

In 2006, the ANSI/ASSE A10.40 Committee, a subcommittee of the ANSI/ASSE A10 Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) on Construction and Demolition Operations, balloted the proposed standard to the A10 for approval. Following the approval of the standard by the Committee, the Coalition then filed an appeal challenging the standard’s adoption, and a hearing was held on May 1, 2007 to hear the formal complaints. On May 25, 2007, the appeals panel found unanimously that the appeal complaints were without merit and that the Secretariat, the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), complied with the ANSI due process requirements in developing the standard. The standard was approved by ANSI’s BSR on July 23, 2007.

Soon thereafter, the Coalition noted its intent to appeal the BSR decision and did so on November 9, 2007. The ANSI BSR held the hearing for the appeal on February 7, 2008. Pending the conclusion of any further appeals in this matter, the BSR has determined that its original action to approve the A10.40 as an American National Standard stands.

“We are pleased with ANSI Board of Standards Review’s decision to uphold the approval and publication of the A10.40 standard,” said ASSE Vice President, Council on Practices and Standards (CoPS) James D. Smith, CSP. “At ASSE we are committed to the protection of people, property and the environment and this standard is an excellent step in protecting workers from injury and in helping to create safer and more healthy workplaces.”

“National consensus standards, such as A10.40, reflect the insights of the final users and the opinions of professionals who work at all levels of public and private sectors in technology development, safety and health, manufacturing, training, financial analysis, personnel and academia,” said A10 Committee Chair Richard King, CSP, CRSP. “ This balanced perspective enables standards to be crafted in a manner that benefits and protects standard users.”

The ANSI BSR denied the appeal on the grounds that insufficient evidence was provided by the Coalition in support of its appeal to demonstrate that the ASC 10 Committee failed to obtain a consensus of materially affected interests with respect to the A10.40 Standard, that the Committee was unbalanced or dominated by one interest group, that the Committee failed adequately to respond to comments or that any procedural requirements were violated or overlooked.

Some of the potential solutions in the standard aimed at reducing incidence of MSDs include risk elimination, substitution, use of engineering controls, administrative changes, training, use of protective equipment and assessment of individuals’ physical capabilities.

The standard also notes that construction workers and supervisors should be trained to recognize risk factors and ways to reduce the risk of MSDs through proper work techniques. Employee participation and injury management program are also discussed in the standard. A10.40 also includes a risk assessment guide, a construction MSD problem checklist, a return-to-work checklist, a list of resources, key terms and definitions and a list of non-occupational risk factors associated with work-related MSDs such as age, strength and gender.

Source: ASSE