Compliance to Standards is not necessarily compliance to Legislations

I did mention in one of my articles, Safety In Design, that compliance shall be in the following order

  1. Acts / Laws
  2. Regulations
  3. Codes of Practice
  4. Standards
  5. Industry Standards

I just attended a seminar about the proposed changes in legislation about Workplace Health and Safety. The Speaker mentioned that "Compliance to Standards is not necessarily compliance to legislations". It is however admissible in court as an evidence.

Legislations have the phrase "when practicable" or "if practicable". The word practicable is actually vaguely used as it is not measurable. It is dependent on the court what they think will be practicable.

As Engineers, we tend to rely on standards as the basis of our design. We are bound however to ensure that our design will be compliant to local legislations. As Standards tend to change very often due to the use of new technologies, legislations do not. This is the primary reason why Acts and Laws have minimum references to standards, so that even if the standard change, the law will not.

To reiterate, Engineers should be aware that compliance to standards is not compliance to legislations.

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