Yeah, You Know about OSHA, but What about ANSI?
Most People Are Familiar with OSHA but Have You Heard of ASNI?
When most people think of safety and health measures, along with the policing of them, they think about OSHA. Most people don’t realize there’s actually an organization that develops voluntary standards that OSHA then takes and utilizes to make rules for topics on safety, environmental, quality, production, manufacturing, etc.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) oversees the creation and use of thousands of norms and guidelines that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector – From acoustical devices to construction equipment, and from dairy and livestock production to energy distribution and many more. Standards can be regulatory only if an agency such as OSHA adopts and references a standard that ANSI develops. Many of OSHA’s original regulations in the early 1970s were ANSI standards that OSHA adopted. For example, ANSI B56.1 regarding forklifts became 29 CFR 1910.178 Powered Industrial Trucks.
ANSI’s mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating:
- Voluntary consensus standards
- Conformity assessment systems
- The safeguarding of their integrity
According to outside data there are more than 93,000 standards produced and nearly 700 organizations that cited standards development as an area of activity. Of these, the federal government is the largest single creator and user of standards (more than 44,000 of them); the private sector collectively has about 49,000 standards. As of 2015, more than 240 of these standards developers were accredited by ANSI; there are more than 11,000 American National Standards (ANS).
The hallmarks of the American National Standards process include:
- Consensus on a proposed standard by a group or "consensus body" that includes representatives from materially affected and interested parties;
- Broad-based public review and comment on draft standards;
- Consideration of and response to comments submitted by voting members of the relevant consensus body and by public review commenters;
- Incorporation of approved changes into a draft standard; and
- Right to appeal by any participant that believes that due process principles were not sufficiently respected during the standards development in accordance with the ANSI-accredited procedures of the standards developer.
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