As most readers know, OSHA standards are just the tip of the compliance iceberg. There are many things for which an employer can be cited which will not be found in the general industry, construction or other OSHA standards. I’m speaking, of course, about the source of most OSHA standards, the consensus standards.

Long before the idea of the OSH Act was conceived, we had organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) and many more, developing much needed standards. Standardization was needed to protect life and property and collectively, these groups, through committees comprised of citizen subject matter experts, had created thousands of consensus standards, from which, OSHA standards were born.

Section 6 of the OSH Act permitted OSHA to incorporate consensus standards by reference. With that, approximately 200 consensus standards became law. However, OSHA frequently references non-incorporated standards when citing employers. You’ve heard me say before, full OSHA compliance is not possible. It’s also no guarantee of a safe workplace.

Employers need to follow consensus standards as well as OSHA.

But with the thousands of standards out there, how does an employer decide what they should have? Know that most of these standards are protected under copyright and must be purchased. But, know too, that you can freely access many of those that you may need. You can go to, for example, and set up a free account after which, you can access and read any NFPA standard without cost.

Below is a guide of consensus standards which may apply to a typical manufacturing facility, that we at EI hope will help answer that question.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

  • NFPA 10:  Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • NFPA 13:  Installation of Sprinkler Systems
  • NFPA 30:  Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code
  • NFPA 33:  Spray Application Using Flammable and Combustible Materials
  • NFPA 51B:  Cutting and Welding Processes
  • NFPA 63:  Dust Explosions in Industrial Plants
  • NFPA 68:  Explosion Venting
  • NFPA 70:  National Electrical Code
  • NFPA 80:  Fire Doors
  • NFPA 101:  Life Safety Code
  • NFPA 230:  General Storage
  • NFPA 654: Prevention of fire and dust explosions

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

  • A14.1; 14.2; 14.3; 14.4; 14.5:  Ladders
  • A92.2 through A92.6  Aerial Lifts
  • B7.1:  Grinding Wheels
  • B20.1:  Conveyors
  • Z358.1:  Eyewashes and Showers
  • B56.1:  Powered Industrial Trucks
  • 01.1:  Woodworking Machinery
  • Z49.1:  Welding
  • B11 Series:  Metal Working Machinery

Compressed Gas Association (CGA)

  • P-1:  Handling and Storage of Compressed Gas Cylinders
  • E-1 through 4:  Hoses, Torches, Gauges


  • Human Factors and Engineering Society (HFES)HFES 100:  Office Ergonomics
  • ANSI Z365:  Ergonomics

To Order Consensus Standards


Both NFPA and ANSI allow free reading of standards at their websites.