It's been over two decades since the idea for an ISO standard on an Occupational Health and Safety Management System Standard (OHSMS) first surfaced. Now, after three failed attempts, the international community, including the United States, has voted to develop what many consider is the most significant health and safety standard in the past 50 years. The question is less about whether a standard will be adopted, but more so on what will it do and how will it impact not only employee health and safety but the practice of the safety profession. There are now seventy-four countries, including observing countries, closely watching and participating in the development of this standard. This is a three year effort which began in July of 2013.
ANSI and ASSE have been working diligently together along with the participating organizations on the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to work on this standard. ASSE leads the development effort by serving as U.S. TAG administrator for ISO PC 283. ANSI is the U.S. member body to ISO, and the TAG will advise ANSI on voting positions and is leading discussions on creation of the new OH&S standard via our TAG leadership team.
Of interest is that the U.S. TAG recently met at ISN in Dallas to finalize the United States position, comments, and ballot. It appears that the United States will vote "no with comments". Such submissions are submitted to ISO via ANSI (American National Standards Institute) as the voting organization for the United States at ISO.
Through the sponsorship of ISN the TAG members were able to have a spirited and diverse debate about the standard. TAG members continue to dialogue about the impact of the standard, global supply chain initiatives, and how voluntary standards such as the proposed ISO 45001 will play a significant role in creating solutions that cross borders. While debate continues about the contents of the standard, there appears to be a strong TAG consensus that this is a real opportunity for standards to play an important role in addressing compelling global occupational safety and health issues.