From: Jack Armstrong <jack**At_Symbol_Here**AZSAFETY.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Question about Managing Consensus Standards
Date: June 5, 2012 6:25:23 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <E5A4F825-9DCF-45F1-AE50-3AC09FF62799**At_Symbol_Here**>

I would like to commend the Young Safety Professional for recognizing that
there is a serious ethical issue involved in the guidance that was
provided to them by a manager in their organization. As a long term Safety
Professional myself I know they will again be confronted by many ethical
issues in the future and I hope they are as quick to recognize it. We need
to always keep in mind that we as safety professionals have an obligation
to protect our employees and our employer. One way we do this is by
ensuring we are complying with the law, that is all laws. When we become
selective about which laws we choose to comply with we will soon find
ourselves on a very slippery slope.

Copyrights are enforceable laws. They are designed to protect and usually
reward individuals for intellectual property. We as safety professional
benefit from their intellectual property. Organizations that provide
Consensus Standards such as the NFPA, ANSI, Etc. Invest considerable
resources in developing and publishing the standards. The organizations
that develop Consensus Standards would not exit if not for their ability
to sell their product and publications.

We are all continually faced with the question of the right thing to do,
both in our private life and professionally. The newspapers are full of
accounts of individuals who have chosen something other than the right
thing to. As an example, you might even know people who don't accurately
report or pay their income taxes, but that is usually not something I
would recommend if you want to live with a clear conscience and with the
worry of the consequence. When you find a way to get away with something
without getting caught you are still cheating and in the long run you are
cheating yourself.

As far as the enforceability of the Copyrights standard. Whether or not
you will be caught or prosecuted depends on many factors, but one clear
and dependable principle today is dependent whether or not there are any
deep pockets involved. Sometimes individuals without deep pockets can get
away with violations without too many repercussions. The same is not true
of organizations who usually have both deep pockets and a reputations they
need to protect.

I believe you made a good decision. If your manager or organization
continues to pursue the recommended activity on your part, simply and
nicely request that they put it in writing. I doubt that you will ever see

And be advised, as a safety professional you might have to someday be
challenged again and this time you might have to choose between the
employees you are charged to protect and your employer. That is a much
harder decision, but it is exact ally why you call yourself a
professional. You are off to a great start and I hope you continue to do
the right thing, you will not be sorry.

Jack Armstrong
AZ Safety

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf
Of Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2012 10:13 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Question about Managing Consensus Standards

A question from someone who preferred to remain anonymous...

- Ralph


I have a question related to how other organizations and professionals
view and manage consensus standards at their facility. Recently, a
manager at my corporation requested that I purchase a single license
consensus standard from an organization (such as ANSI) and then disburse
to another individual for use among a workgroup. After reading the
copyright agreement on the consensus standard I informed the colleague
that per the copyright agreement that this couldn't be done and that the
individual would need to purchase the standard himself and it could only
be for his sole use. The manager then replied that (these are not his
exact words) it was no big deal to purchase the standard and give to the
individual and no one would hold me to the copyright law. I understand
that the chances of being held and prosecuted for the disbursement of one
consensus standard would probably not occur; however, I refused the
manager's request on the basis of ethics and stated that the comp!
any would either have to purchase a multiple user license to the standard
which I would look into or the individual would have to buy the standard

Therefore, my question is just on how other companies and individuals deal
with the purchasing of consensus standards that are incorporated into
government regulations by reference (such as NEC 70E). Especially since
these standards can cost a lot of money to an individual or small
companies. I have already seen some individuals (not the manager stated
above) email consensus standards between other users as if it were not a
big deal. Also, I heard recently on a public radio program where a group
is trying to distribute these to the public for free
( .

Any thoughts or comments on this topic would be very much appreciated.

Thank you.
YSP (young safety professional)

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