Are Standards Necessary?

I’m a firm believer in free enterprise and believe that “over-regulation” of any industry can and will stifle growth, innovation and job creation.  However, as we have seen in recent years no regulation or extremely limited oversight can have disastrous results for consumers.  There must be a balance.  Market forces should be allowed to work and flourish while at the same time there must be protections and oversight in place to keep entities (including manufacturers) from taking dangerous “short-cuts” to drive profits and to keep predators completely out of the market.

The safety PPE market regulation comes in the form of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).  OSHA was created to help protect workers from workplace hazards, by establishing and enforcing workplace safety and health requirements.  OSHA requires employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace and appropriate protective equipment.  A point of confusion sometimes is that while OSHA may mandate the use of a product that meets a certain standard, OSHA does not write any standards or certify any products.

So what is a Standard and why do we need them (specifically in our safety industry)?  In simple terms standards create the “norm” or “what’s expected”.  Standards establish compatibility, suitability and levels of performance.  They put credibility and a certain level of trust behind the products that are manufactured to specific industry standards.

At MCR Safety we are strong supporters of PPE product standards and believe they are vital to assure workers are well protected from the many diverse hazards that may be present in the workplace.  We are a member of ISEA (International Safety Equipment Association).  ISEA is a recognized leader in the development of safety standards in the U.S. and around the world.  The association also works with Congress and government agencies to educate and influence policy makers on the importance of safety regulations and oversight in the workplace as well as the necessity of standards and their enforcement.  For more than 75 years ISEA has worked with its member company’s to promote the standardization of safety equipment.  MCR Safety is an active participant on all product group committees within ISEA for our core product lines.

When you or your fellow coworkers put on a pair of safety glasses you should want to know they meet a standard that has been developed by experts, tested to the rigors of the workplace and is consistently enforced.  This same level of confidence should apply whether you are wearing a respirator, garment or pair of gloves.  There is no room to “short cut” and no place for predators when it comes to protecting life and limb at the workplace!