The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private, non-profit organization overseeing the development of voluntary standards in the United States. ANSI themselves do not create standards, but rather they accredit standards developed by consumer groups, government agencies, consumer groups, and even other standards organizations. Members of ANSI come from many different backgrounds, from individual members to academic institutions, international bodies, and more.
ANSI standards cover products, services, processes, systems, and personnel, putting forth some very important standards when it comes to occupational health and safety. These standards are voluntary and cannot be enforced by ANSI, but OSHA is a governmental agency that has adopted a number of their regulations with the corresponding ANSI standard.
A few ANSI workplace safety standards to be aware of include:
- ANSI z535: This is a series of six standards covering the design and formatting of safety signs. It includes the colors used for signs, a criterion for safety symbols, safety signs and labels used for products, safety tags and barricades, and product safety information. ANSI standards have four main components for safety signs to follow: the safety alert symbol as well as safety symbols, the signal word, and the word message.
- ANSI z87.1: OSHA standard 1910.133 requires employers to provide eye and face protection that comply with the ANSI Z87.1 standard. In order for safety glasses, safety goggles, and other related protection to be ANSI-approved, they must be tested to check if they can provide protection from a number of hazards. When employers purchase eye and face protection that are sold as being compliant with ANSI Z87, they can be certain the goggles, glasses, or face protection will offer the right level of protection.
- ANSI S3.19: Unlike eye and face protection, head protection, and foot protection, OSHA has not adopted the ANSI standards for hearing protection. However, following the ANSI S3.19 standard will not only keep workplaces in compliance with OSHA, but also ensure the ear plugs or ear muffs provided to employees will give them a predictable level of production.