ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 Update: Another Update, Plus Talk on “Shalls” and “Shoulds”


ANSI Z490.2 Image

As you may know, Jeff Dalto of Convergence Training is part of the sub-committee creating the upcoming ASSP/ANSI Z490.2 standard for online EHS training.

As a result, this gives us the ability to periodically update you on developments with the creation of that standard. For example, in recent updates we discussed the meaning of the phrase “online safety training” and the use of the Delphi Method to create the new standard.

In this update, we’re going to tell you a few things we discussed and worked on in our most recent meetings, as well as point out something important about the structure of many standards like this that also has importance for OSHA compliance (hint: it involves words like “shall” and “should”).

The Recent Z490.2 Work Done List

Here’s a very quick recap of some of the things we worked on in the most recent meeting:

  • General standard improvements throughout entirety of standard (too many to go into detail, but know we’re all working hard to make the standard better from beginning to end).
  • Terminology and definitions revolving around the people who design, deliver, and consume/complete online safety training, including discussions of words like teacher, trainer, trainee, learner, facilitator, and instructional designer.
  • Different instructional methods that can increase the interactivity of online EHS training courses.
  • The “Definitions” list included near the beginning of the standard. We’re trying to make sure we are defining the correct words and that the definitions themselves are correct. Along with that, we’re cross-referencing the definitions for Z490.2 with the definitions for Z490.1 to make sure the two sets are logical, compatible, and consistent. As part of this effort, the Online Safety Training Glossary at the Convergence Training blog has been a useful resource.
  • A Resources list, full of resources we referred to while creating the standard and that the standard creators recommend those interested in online safety training check out. We’re trying to make sure this is complete (so authors get proper credit) and helpful (so standard readers will find it a useful reference). We’re also trying to coordinate this list with a similar list in Z490.1 to make sure they’re complementary. This would appear in the Annexes section of the standard.
  • A checklist for online EHS training design, development, delivery, and evaluation. This will mirror the requirements and recommendations in the standard itself and hopefully will be a useful resource for standard readers who want to put the standard into practice.

We did some other stuff, too, but the items listed above are the biggies.

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The Structure of a National Standard (Columns, Shalls, and Shoulds)

If you’re familiar with national standards, you may notice that they often have two columns per page. There’s one column on the left, and a second column on the right side of the same page.

That’s true of Z490.2, and it’s true of many other standards.

If you’re not sure why the standard has two columns, here’s your explanation. The column on the left is the list of requirements. These are things you have to do. You’ll often see words like “shall” in this column. On the other hand, the column on the left is a list of recommendations. These are things you might want to do, or that the standard creators hope you do, or they’re tips/examples of how to implement the requirement in the corresponding left-hand column. You’ll often see words like “should” in this column, or “may” or “might.”

Z490.2 includes an explanation of this. Here’s what it says:

American National Standard Z490.2 uses a two-column format to provide both specific requirements and supporting information.

The left column, designated “Standard Requirements,” is confined solely to these requirements. The right column, designated “Explanatory Information,” contains information that is intended to clarify the standard. This column is not a part of the standard.

For those of you who are interested in how this general two-column formatting of standard impacts issues of OSHA compliance, you’ll be interested in this little excerpt from 1910.6:

Only the mandatory provisions (i.e., provisions containing the word “shall” or other mandatory language) of standards incorporated by reference are adopted as standards under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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Conclusion: ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 Is Coming Along

We hope you found this update helpful and invite you to watch for our next update.

Until then, hang tight for the new national standard and feel free to download the free Online Safety Training Buyer’s Guide Checklist, below.

Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide Checklist

Online Safety Training Buyer’s Guide Checklist

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Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide Checklist

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