The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was founded in 1918 as a private, non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting voluntary consensus standards. The purpose of ANSI is to create detailed, technical documents that provide rules, guidelines, and recommendations for products and procedures. Organizations like ANSI are comprised of industry representatives, technical experts, and policy makers who gather together, and attempt to develop a consensus on safety measures for a multitude of industries.
What Are ANSI Standards?
ANSI addresses many of the same health and safety issues as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), often expounding on the legal standards established by OSHA. The primary difference between the two organizations is that any standards created by OSHA are mandatory. ANSI standards are generally voluntary, with some exceptions. ANSI standards can become mandatory through a process called incorporation by reference. This occurs when an OSHA standard cites an ANSI standard, causing it to become part of the law.
An example of this process can be found in OSHA’s law on Personal Protective Equipment, which states: The OSHA standard for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requires that many categories of PPE meet or be equivalent to standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Employers who need to provide PPE in the categories listed below must make certain that any new equipment procured meets the cited ANSI standard. Existing PPE stocks must meet the ANSI standard in effect at the time of its manufacture or provide protection equivalent to PPE manufactured to the ANSI criteria. Employers should inform employees who provide their own PPE of the employer’s selection decisions and ensure that any employee-owned PPE used in the workplace conforms to the employer’s criteria, based on the hazard assessment, OSHA requirements, and ANSI standards.
OSHA requires PPE to meet the following ANSI standards:
- Eye and Protection: ANSI Z87.1-1989 (USA Standard for Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection)
- Head Protection: ANSI Z89.1-1986
- Foot Protection: ANSI Z41.1-1991
OSHA’s General Duty Clause
Not all ANSI standards are incorporated by reference into established OSHA standards. Some maintain their voluntary status. But while OSHA creates the general standards employers must follow, the agency may still cite employers for not adhering to certain voluntary standards. Failure to abide by a voluntary standard can represent a violation of OSHA’s General Duty Clause, which requires employers to maintain a work environment free from recognized hazards.
While OSHA standards are created to reinforce workers’ rights and ensure workers’ safety, they also consider affordability. OSHA standards must meet a certain fiscal criteria in order to become law. The primary motivation of ANSI standards is safety. As such, they do not always give consideration to cost, and are sometimes willing to impose more rigorous and expensive standards. If an ANSI standard is deemed too costly, it is not likely to be incorporated by reference into existing OSHA laws.
To learn more about ANSI, visit their website at: https://www.ansi.org/.
To learn more about OSHA’s laws and safety regulations, visit: https://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html.
ANSI A300 Standards for the Tree Care Industry
The tree care industry has its own set of voluntary consensus standards called the ANSI A300 standards. The ANSI A300 standards cover a wide array of topics, ranging from pruning to tree risk assessment. They are generally accepted to be the industry standards for tree care practices. Each of the A300 standards are developed by the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), an ANSI-accredited Developing Organization (SDO), and written by a committee called the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) A300, a group comprised of industry representatives.
The ANSI A300 standards apply to professionals within the tree care industry. This includes businesses, government agencies, property owners, property managers, and utilities. In the United States, ANSI A300 standards unify all previously existing tree care industry standards and guidelines.
The ANSI A300 standards are divided into nine parts, each focused on a particular aspect of tree care. The nine parts are as follows:
Part 1 – Pruning & Trimming Operations
Part 2 – Soil Management
Part 3 – Supplemental Support Systems
Part 4 – Lightning Protection Systems
Part 5 – Management of Trees and Shrubs
Part 6 – Planting and Transplanting
Part 7 – Integrated Vegetation Management
Part 8 – Root Management Standard
Part 9 – Tree Risk Assessment
To learn more about the ANSI A300 Standards, visit: http://tcia.org/business/ansi-a300-standards.
ANSI Z133 Safety Standard
The ANSI Z133 Safety Standard addresses safety requirements for arborists and other workers engaged in arboricultural operations. It discusses a bevy of subjects, including: general safety, electrical hazards, proper use of vehicles and mobile equipment, operation of portable power hand tools, proper use of hand tools and ladders, and general work procedures.