Machine Safety: ANSI Z10-2005 is a concern and an opportunity

ANSI Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems standard ANSI Z10-2005 was updated, and the update approved on Sept. 5, 2012. This remarkable accomplishment created a national consensus standard for all types of organizations and companies regardless of size. A standard is not a guideline, and it carries compliance requirements. OSHA says ignorance of a regulation or standard is not an acceptable excuse.


ANSI approved Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ANSI Z10-2005, on July 25, 2005. It was updated, and the update was approved on Sept. 5, 2012. This remarkable accomplishment created a national consensus standard for organizations and companies regardless of size. A standard is not a guideline, and it carries compliance requirements. This may understandably involve concerns, but what opportunities are in ANSI Z10?

ANSI Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ANSI Z10Concerns don't limit themselves to compliance requirements, in my opinion. I believe most of us understand that a lot of organizations don’t have “best-in-class” safety and health management systems in place within their operations. Having said that, there is a regulatory and/or legal expectation that all organizations/companies will have knowledge of any and all required compliance standards related to their applications. Therefore, “best-in-class” safety and health management does not matter in this case. Most often, potential citations and litigation boil down to compliance. According to OSHA, ignorance of a regulation or standard is not an acceptable excuse.

Opportunities related to ANSI Z10

Okay, what about opportunity? As an organization or supplier (consultant, original equipment manufacturer [OEM], systems integrator, etc.), implementing and complying with ANSI Z10 can be a cost effective key portion of an effective safety and health management system. As an “A” level performance standard applying “shall” language for compliance, doesn’t this standard set a high water mark in a safety culture? Yes, and an effective safety and health management system can be structured around ANSI Z10. There are a lot of details included in ANSI Z10, but I tend to generalize key requirements as follows:

  • Identify and mitigate hazards during the design phase and when changes are implemented:

      o Conduct safety design reviews for all new and/or altered machines and facilities

      o Utilize a change management process to identify and mitigate hazards and risks

  • Complete consistent assessments of risk(s) for all identified hazards

  • Adopt and utilize the hierarchy of controls for mitigating hazards recognizing the “safety through design” principle in the initial steps

  • Initiate actions to avoid inserting hazards via the procurement process for materials, machinery or facilities

  • All of the above is a continuous process

I’m sure you’ll agree that these general concepts, and the additional details of ANSI Z10, represent a compelling safety culture offering an opportunity for risk reduction, fewer employee injuries and reduced operational costs. In a perfect world, if all U.S. organizations and companies were in compliance with ANSI Z10 maybe we could actually achieve the ultimate safety and health management system.

What's your level of familiarity with ANSI Z10? Do you have any questions about it's application? Do you have some specific machine safety topic or interest that we could cover in future blog posts? Add your comments, thoughts, questions, or experiences in the comments section below.

Related articles:

ANSI Z10-2012, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems

Three stages for implementing arc hazard protection: Part 3

Machine Safety: Is your safety culture a top-down approach?

Machine Safety Culture: Compliance versus cooperation driven

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