ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021: Prevention through Design Guidelines

Workers in a steel plant that are kept safe due to ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021 prevention through design guidelines.

Sentient beings seek pleasure and avoid pain. The latter characteristic, at least in animals with a nervous system, manifests in reflexes. Involuntary movements act as a quick and dependable reaction to any threat, whether as imminent as your hand pressed against a heated stove or as benign as your doctor tapping your knee with a rubber mallet.

But a worker’s reflexes and competencies cannot be the only means of protecting them in the workplace. Intrinsic safety is assured in the very foundation of all processes and equipment. Prevention through design stipulations are thoroughly addressed in ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021: Prevention Through Design Guidelines For Addressing Occupational Hazards And Risks In Design And Redesign Processes.

What is Prevention through Design?

Prevention through design (PtD) incorporates decisions relating to occupational risks and hazards into processes. This includes the design and redesign of work premises, tools, equipment, machinery, substances, and work processes with a focus on their construction, manufacture, use, maintenance, and ultimate disposal or reuse.

While PtD focuses on the design of systems, individuals also play essential roles. Top leadership, in accordance with ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021, identifies and evaluates hazards and assesses and prioritizes risks, thereby reducing them to an acceptable level.

By applying prevention through design concepts in an occupational setting, workplaces can achieve acceptable risks and prevent or reduce occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.

About ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021

By providing guidance on prevention through design, ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021 deals with the avoidance, elimination, reduction, or control of occupational safety and health hazards and risks during design and redesign processes. The American National Standard can be applied in any occupational setting and to any mode of activity within the pre-operational (planning, development, etc.), operational (the intended use of the system), and post operational (end of service, decommissioning, reuse, etc.) stages.

ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021 provides guidance for a life-cycle assessment and design model that balances environmental and occupational safety and health goals over the life span of a facility, process, or product.

Changes to ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021

ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021 is the second edition of the prevention through design standard, revising the first publication that was released in 2011 and reaffirmed in 2016.

ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021 was released to provide updated guidance in the consistent practice of identifying, assessing, and treating occupational hazards and risks in the design and redesign processes and throughout a system’s lifecycle. This includes updated guidance to:

  • The roles and responsibilities of stakeholders
  • Design safety reviews
  • Establishment of safety specifications
  • Management of change
  • The PtD risk management process
  • The hierarchy of risk treatments

The current edition of the standard also saw the addition of the following informative addenda:

  • Addendum A –  The PtD Risk Management Process
  • Addendum I – The Logic Supporting the Hierarchy of Risk Treatments
  • Addendum J – Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering
  • Addendum K – Management of Change

This new edition allows the user to integrate PtD elements like procurement, management of change, risk assessments, and design safety reviews into an organization’s safety management system, like ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 and ISO 45001. ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021 also aligns with the following key risk-based standards and technical reports, like ISO 31000:2018.

ANSI/ASSP Z590.3-2021: Prevention Through Design Guidelines For Addressing Occupational Hazards And Risks In Design And Redesign Processes is available on the ANSI Webstore. You can get it and ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 together as the ANSI/ASSP Z10.0 / ANSI/ASSP Z590.3 – Occupational Health and Safety Design Package.

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