Working at a dealership or auto services facility, you have a variety of OSHA regulations and consensus standards (like ANSI) to stay in compliance with. The problem is, there are so many of them that they’re hard to manage, even more so when the difference between the two is unclear.
The basic answer is that OSHA regulations are considered legal requirements and are subject to government enforcement. Regulations came into existence from consensus standards, and have grown from them. Consensus standards on the other hand are the nuts and bolts of the OSHA regulations. They’re detailed accounts that provide rules, guidelines, and requirements for the regulations themselves.
Realistically, regulations and standards look very similar, and often cause confusion between the two. In fact, some regulations reference a standard, which allows OSHA to enforce the standard as law. A variety of other nuances lead to further confusion when reading regulations and standards. The best rule of thumb is to contact your environment and safety consultant to walk you through whatever confusion you may be experiencing. However, there are four following principals to keep in mind when navigating the dangerous waters of OSHA regulations and consensus standards.
- Consensus standards are not law.
- OSHA can cite you for not complying with standards.
- Consensus standards can be enforced by OSHA’s “incorporation by reference” or by the OSHA General Duty Clause.
- You are not required to adhere to any consensus standards. But this won’t stop OSHA from citing you lack of compliance.
Keep in mind that this is not an all-inclusive list of methods to stay in compliance with OSHA in regards to standards. Your safest method is to consult a professional when it comes to OSHA compliance.