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July/August 2011

Occupational Safety and Health Performance Improvement

job siteA new ASTM International subcommittee has been created to develop standards that will be meaningful and accurate performance indicators that measure work-related injury and illness throughout the world.

Subcommittee E34.55 on Occupational Safety and Health Performance Improvement is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee E34 on Occupational Health and Safety.

“Measuring safety performance is difficult because there is not a good system of leading indicators, and the lagging indicators or injury rates are often complicated, subjective and unrelated to performance,” says Thomas Slavin, global safety and health director, Navistar Inc., and vice chairman, E34.

Slavin says that the first standard to be developed by E34.55 will address a global method for recording work-related injuries and illnesses.

“Several countries have established rules for recording work-related injuries and illnesses that vary widely and are not comparable,” says Slavin. “For example, there are significant differences in recording commuting injuries and injuries that result in time off work or change in assignment. Moreover, recordkeeping systems that are designed for statistical purposes can differ from those that evaluate safety program performance and are often complicated by issues of fault, preventability and compensability.”

The initial standard to be developed by the subcommittee will define work-related injuries and illnesses in a way that can be easily understood across countries, are related to safety management systems and can be used to evaluate and compare safety programs.

All interested parties, particularly representatives of global companies, are invited to join E34.55. “In addition, we would like involvement from the public sector, professional safety and industrial hygiene organizations, and employee representatives,” says Slavin.


Technical Information: Thomas Slavin, Navistar Inc., Chicago, Ill.

Phone: 312-836-3929

ASTM Staff: Kevin Shanahan

Phone: 610-832-9737