Addressing the fact that workplace incidents can be prevented through design, such as during the designing and construction of a new manufacturing plant, the American Society of Safety Engineers’ (ASSE) recently launched an initiative to establish guidelines for better workplace design.
The Z790 Standards Initiative is being launched to develop the “Prevention Through Design (PTD): Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes” standard.
“This is a major move for ASSE as our members have been discussing and acting on this issue for many years and it will be the first ASSE stand-alone standard the society will publish,” ASSE Vice President-Council on Practices and Standards George Pearson said following the approval of the ASSE board of directors to move forward.
The group has already produced key papers on the topic, held symposiums, participated in meetings with government agencies, developed the ASSE Prevention Through Design: an ASSE Technical Report, TR-Z790.001-2009, and will be host to a webinar on this topic in February.
PTD, or safety through design, is defined as the integration of hazard analysis and risk assessment methods early in the design and engineering stages and taking the actions necessary so that risks of injury or damage are prevented.
Recent studies indicate that approximately 40 percent of work-related fatalities are design related. PTD is described as an approach that can eliminate or reduce work-related hazards by designing them out of the project.
The new PTD ASSE standard will assist safety professionals and others to increase their knowledge on the occupational safety, health and environmental issues in the design/ redesign process and address how to prevent or minimize work-related hazards associated with facilities, materials, and equipment during: construction, manufacture, use, maintenance and disposal/demolition.
ASSE is currently reviewing the draft Z790 document and setting up meetings for those wishing to comment on the draft. Following this, ASSE will process the standard through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) canvass process.
Also, on February 17, ASSE will be host to a webinar titled “Prevention Through Design – Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Risks in Design and Redesign Processes” which will discuss ASSE’s PTD technical report, share insights on how PTD is being implemented in a variety of industries and discuss international standards activities.
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