Monday, October 8, 2007

OSHA References to ANSI I-14.1; It Is Law

Building managers and engineers have been asking, "is the ANSI I-14.1 a requirement, is it a code that we must adhere to?" For some, the answer isn't a clear "yes" or "no", but "it depends". Technically, there is a gray area here. We like to think that the answer is an emphatic YES! Please see the links to OSHA below for our proof. (click title for more)

There are hardwired OSHA codes like 1910.66 that have been on the books for years. These are "requirements". Then, there are numerous National Concensus Standards that OSHA refers to. Some have become regulations by virtue of "incorporation by reference", and there are others that have not become fully enforced codes (yet).

OSHA will never write a specific code for every single industry, for every single scenario or conceivable event - it's too daunting. Rather, there is a set of "rules" that should govern the behavior of owners, managers, contrators and employees. There is the set of "cases" where OSHA has levied citations and / or recommended actions to abate the cause of the accidents. This is becoming a body of knowledge, or "common law" as it may be.

Attorneys may use this body of knowledge to zeolously persue their cases. There have been a number of multi-million dollar cases over the years.

If your company's policy and culture leans toward being safe vs. getting a job done fast or cheaply, then the answer is Yes, the ANSI I-14.1 is a requirement. The reason is very logical - follow the "do no harm" principle, follow the fiduciary principle of the General Duty Clause in OSHA, follow common sense, do those things that promote goodwill, boost morale, increase productivity, reduce medical leave, reduce insurance premiums, increase safety track record (which is an asset).

If the fear of having a tragic accident at your site, possibly fatal, and if litigation, the possibility of litigation, or the high expense of settlements doesn't urge you to use common sense, the following references by OSHA during accident investigations to the ANSI I-14.1 may help raise your awareness a little.

This is a sampling of such references and may not be an exhaustive list:

OSHA Inspections & Citations with SIC and Link

Inspection_ID Citation_ID SIC URL

305549388 01001 7349

305697161 01001 2011

306227091 01001A 7349

303991582 01001 7349

304440048 01001 7349

305158149 01001 7349

Think safety is job #1.