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Should the federal government develop safety standards?

Cestrone PF
Natl Saf News 1970 Feb; 101:42-46
The complex question of whether the federal government should develop safety standards is discussed. The answer revolves around whether industry should dispose of voluntary safety standards or diminish their role and let the federal government take over this responsibility entirely. The press, Congress, trade publications, wage earners, and consumers are pushing for greater safeguards. The private sector maintains it has the experience and capability to do the job voluntarily. The Bureau of Labor Standards is doing all it can to give the private sector the chance to make the voluntary system work, but, where the private sector fails, the government is obliged to take action. The 1964 Public Contract Act hearings resulted in the Secretary of Labor establishing a policy of adopting safety standards, developed by voluntary groups, wherever applicable standards existed and the formation of the National Safety Advisory Committee. In 1968, a study was undertaken to identify available standards, how long they had been in existence, and point out needed standards for the department's programs. It was evident that there was a need to speed up the updating of older standards and the system for developing new ones. The report supported the theory that an effective voluntary system is beneficial to both industry and government. Reacting to the report the American National Safety Institute (ANSI) committed themselves to: (1) setting up a task force to review outdated standards, (2) establishing a list of new priorities for the new safety standards underway, (3) reviewing existing procedures to ensure production of more timely standards, (4) establishing specific goals and timetables for the development of new projects, and (5) communicating the above actions to interested parties. Many constructive ideas and actions have emerged; some of the more significant ones dealt with modifying rules to permit faster approval action. In examining existing standards it has been found that many are valuable, however, these may contain irrelevant information making them confusing. Other problems are limited coverage and inadequate definitions.
NIOSH-Author; Regulations; Consumerism; Legislation
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National Safety News
Page last reviewed: January 14, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division