Raising Our Standards In 2015

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“Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.” – Anthony Robbins, leadership guru

When I joined the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) as its new executive director, I was struck by the enthusiasm and earnestness of nearly everyone I met. Yet I often heard a rueful tone when PSAI members said things like, “Our industry isn’t respected,” and “How do we raise standards when a lot of people are willing to lower them just to get a contract?”

First, the bad news: As individuals and company owners acting alone, there is little you can do. The good news, though, is that by joining with the PSAI you can do a great deal to bring about positive change.

Developing industry standards is among the most important and beneficial activities a trade association can undertake. As long as the standards are voluntary and don’t attempt to control pricing, courts have viewed setting standards as both legal and beneficial in helping nonindustry people like regulators, customers and end-users make decisions. The standards give them a way to discern the value of what they buy and to differentiate between competitors. When that happens, everyone wins.

The PSAI’s strategic plan calls for the organization to step up its role in developing industry standards and best practices. Presently, our Standards and Guidance Committee is working on several projects, and your ideas are welcome.        

• The PSAI is updating and gathering input on three guidelines published by the American National Standards Institute. These standards cover sanitation in places of employment, sanitation in nonsewered waste-disposal systems, and sanitation in fields and temporary labor camps. We are currently seeking comments on revised drafts of these standards. Input is especially needed from consumers and nonindustry stakeholders. This comment period will close at the end of February.

• In November 2014 the PSAI Board of Directors approved the outline for a Voluntary Code of Excellence for the portable sanitation industry. The Standards and Guidance Committee is presently at work in creating the more extensive draft code, and they expect to release it for comment at the end of February. All industry members are invited to comment on the draft and to participate in a discussion with the Standards and Guidance Committee at the PSAI’s Annual Convention and Trade Show March 25-28 in Nashville, Tenn. The comment period will conclude April 15.

Both of these projects have the potential to dramatically impact how the public views portable sanitation. We invite you to get involved by commenting on the proposed standards. Better yet, become active on the PSAI Standards and Guidance Committee and help to shape the language. Contact me for more information.

Together, we can transform the portable sanitation industry from one that gets less respect than it deserves to a better understood, often admired service provided by dedicated professionals.

Please come and talk to us about this and many other PSAI initiatives at the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show in Indianapolis Feb. 24-26. The PSAI will have representatives in booth 1068 at the Indiana Convention Center. See you there!


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