ANSI AND THE SCAFFOLD & ACCESS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system.
The Institute oversees the development of thousands of standards that directly impact businesses in nearly every sector. Topics covered range from the largest construction equipment to the smallest nanoparticles, and from the most detailed applications to the broadest definition of a systems implementation. ANSI is also actively engaged in accrediting programs that assess conformance to standards.
The ANSI Federation is comprised of government agencies, organizations, corporations, academic and international bodies, and individuals. In total, the Institute represents the interests of more than 125,000 companies and 3.5 million professionals.ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). For more information, visit www.ansi.org.
WHAT IS A STANDARD?
A standard is a document, established by consensus, that provides rules, guidelines, or characteristics for activities or their results. (As defined in ISO/IEC Guide 2:2004.)
Standards play an important role in everyday life. They may establish size or shape or capacity of a product, process, or system. They can specify performance of products or personnel. They can also define terms so that there is no misunderstanding among those using the standard.
As examples, standards help ensure that film to fit our cameras can be purchased anywhere in the world, that a light bulb fits a socket, and plugs for electrical appliances fit outlets. With standards, our homes, workplaces, and public buildings are safer from collapse, fire, and explosion.
Conformity assessment is defined as any activity concerned with determining directly or indirectly that relevant requirements are fulfilled. (As defined in ISO/IEC Guide 2:2004.) While a standard IS a technical expression of how to make a product safe, efficient, and compatible with others, a standard alone cannot guarantee performance. Conformity assessment, however, provides assurance to consumers by increasing consumer confidence when personnel, products, systems, processes, or services are evaluated against the requirements of a voluntary standard.
WHAT IS ANSI?
ANSI has served as coordinator of the U.S. private sector voluntary standardization system for more than 90 years. 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 and conformity assessment systems and safeguarding their integrity. Through its members, staff, constituents, partners, and advocates, ANSI responds directly to the standardization and conformity assessment interests and needs of consumers, government, companies, and organizations.
The role of ANSI is to coordinate the U.S. voluntary consensus standards system, providing a neutral forum for the development of policies on standards issues and serving as a watchdog for standards development and conformity assessment programs and processes.
The federation also accredits qualified organizations, whose standards development process meets all of ANSI’s requirements, to develop American National Standards. However, ANSI itself does not develop standards. In addition, ANSI represents U.S. interests in regional and international standardization activities while overseeing conformity assessment activities that promote the global acceptance of U.S. products, services, systems, and personnel.