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New ASTM Standard Provides Method for Recording Occupational Injuries and Illnesses


A new ASTM International standard will be used to provide a uniform international method for recording occupational injuries and illnesses, in order to make global performance comparisons of companies in keeping workers safe. ASTM E2920, Guide for Recording Occupational Injuries and Illnesses, was developed by Subcommittee E34.80 on Industrial Health, part of ASTM International Committee E34 on Occupational Health and Safety.

“In a global economy it is important to have performance metrics that apply internationally,” says Thomas J. Slavin, consulting industrial hygienist, Cardno ChemRisk, and chairman of E34. “For occupational injury and illness rates, there were no international criteria. Several countries have established rules for recording work-related injuries and illnesses that vary widely and are not comparable.”

According to Steve Newell, principal consultant with ORCHSE Strategies LLC, and E34.80 chairman, ASTM E2920 will establish a common denominator system that includes injuries most countries already record. Because of this approach, no new system will need to be developed and existing records can be used to establish historical trends by identifying those cases that qualify under the new criteria.

ASTM E2920 will be especially helpful to multinational companies by leveling the playing field by its use, regardless of company or country, and enabling globally consistent safety performance evaluation.

Slavin says that ASTM E2920 can be used in the following ways:

•    Global companies can use ASTM E2920 for comparison of operations across countries on a unified scale;
•    Sustainability researchers can use the standard for the safety aspects of their evaluations; and
•    Regulatory and research organizations will be able to make informed comparisons of country-to-country safety and health programs.

In addition to the guidelines in the body of the standard, ASTM E2920 contains an appendix that uses specific cases and questions to allow users to build a library of interpretations and clarifications. Users may also submit information for specific situations that may require interpretation to the subcommittee so that the ASTM E2920 appendix addressing such issues can be expanded in future revisions of ASTM E2920.

To purchase ASTM standards, visit and search by the standard designation, or contact ASTM Customer Relations (phone: 877-909-ASTM; ASTM International welcomes participation in the development of its standards. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, visit

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ASTM Committee E34 Next Meeting: Oct. 8-9, 2014, October Committee Week, New Orleans, La.
Technical Contacts: Thomas J. Slavin, Cardno ChemRisk, Chicago, Ill., Phone: 312-863-2350;; and Steve Newell, ORCHSE Strategies LLC, Washington, D.C., Phone: 202-510-0513; 
ASTM Staff Contact: Kevin Shanahan, Phone: 610-832-9737; 
ASTM PR Contact: Barbara Schindler, Phone: 610-832-9603;

Release #9605

February 28, 2014

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