With increases in OSHA penalties, as well as conducting more inspections to identify violations of its policies and impose the new fines, a question many in the aerial rental market are asking is: How are ANSI standards enforced by OSHA?
ANSI standards and OSHA regulations are often confused because they generally address the same issues. In fact, many OSHA regulations were written based on ANSI standards. Also, OSHA often adopts ANSI standards via “incorporation by reference.”
Here’s a brief breakdown of what these two agencies do:
The A92 ANSI standards are the basis upon which aerial work platforms are designed, maintained, and operated. All entities involved in the safety chain (manufacturer — dealer — owner — user — operator) are to be knowledgeable regarding these standards. While ANSI standards are considered best practices, they are not laws or regulations. Complying with ANSI standards is voluntary.
OSHA is an agency of the U.S. government that issues and enforces regulations for employers to ensure workplace safety and health. Though the regulations are often referred to as standards, they are in fact laws and therefore compliance is mandatory.
When ANSI standards are adopted or incorporated, they become part of the OSHA regulation and are no longer voluntary.
It is important to point out that although ANSI standards are technically voluntary, it is in every rental company’s best interest to comply with them. Even when they are not incorporated into OSHA regulations, employers are expected to acknowledge them since they represent a consensus on what experts consider safe. Also, not following standards may be considered a violation of OSHA’s “general duty” clause, which requires employers to keep the workplace “free from recognized hazards.”
Finally, since ANSI standards are considered best practices, they are viewed as the legal “standard of care.” Noncompliance can equate to negligence and legal liability in the event of an injury.