This study seeks to better understand voluntary consensus standards systems for safety and health management, and the characteristics of, and perceived benefits to, the employers who adopt them. This project will contribute to evidence-building on effective compliance strategies and compliance assistance.

Research Questions:

  • How do the various organizations that develop and promote voluntary consensus standards administer their accreditation systems? What are the strengths and weaknesses in their respective accreditation processes?
  • What are the characteristics of establishments and firms that voluntarily seek accreditation for safety and health management practices?
  • What are the perceived benefits and costs associated with obtaining accreditation for safety and health management standard systems?
  • What are the similarities and differences in safety and health management practices between OSHA standards used in enforcement and the most common systems that develop voluntary consensus standards? Can the nature and magnitude of the gaps and overlap between OSHA standards and voluntary consensus standards suggest potential advantages or concerns with respect to compliance?

Project Duration: 36 Months

Contract End Date: September 2021

Contractor: Eastern Research Group

For More Information: ChiefEvaluationOffice@dol.gov


The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Chief Evaluation Office (CEO) sponsors independent evaluations and research, primarily conducted by external, third-party contractors in accordance with the Department of Labor Evaluation Policy. CEO’s research development process includes extensive technical review at the design, data collection and analysis stage, including: external contractor review and OMB review and approval of data collection methods and instruments per the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), Institutional Review Board (IRB) review to ensure studies adhere to the highest ethical standards, review by academic peers (e.g., Technical Working Groups), and inputs from relevant DOL agency and program officials and CEO technical staff. Final reports undergo an additional independent expert technical review and a review for Section 508 compliance prior to publication. The resulting reports represent findings from this independent research and do not represent DOL positions or policies.