How does ANSI work?

As stated by ISO, The International Organization for Standardization, the definition of a standard is “documents established by consensus that provide rules, guidelines, or characteristics or their results.” ANSI is known for its numerous safety standards in existence, as a volunteer-based organization that facilitates the creation of national standards. ANSI doesn’t create the standards themselves, that is the job of the Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) who have been accredited by ANSI. Some examples of these SDOs are:

  • NPFA International
  • ASME International
  • CSA America

ANSI has a massive volunteer community; they have over 1,000 volunteer members that represent over 270,000 entities ranging from labor organizations to government agencies and professional societies. Those volunteers are the ones who have the chance to respond to the proposed consensus standards put forth by SDOs. It’s a wonderfully collaborative strategy for everyone to participate either as a standard-setting company or those individuals who are in the workforce tasked with applying those potential new standards.

How ANSI Develops Standards

The development of ANSI standards goes through vigorous review processes by the volunteers as well as the subcommittees that are a part of ANSI as well. The process goes as follows:

  1. A Standards Developing Organization puts forth a project. This can be a completely new standard or a revision of an old standard.
    • The SDO submits a form to ANSI for project initiation. ANSI has 30 days to publish it to the public.
    • An interest survey is sent to the volunteers known as consensus reviewers.
  1. There is a 30-day response period for consensus reviewers.
  2. The SDO must submit a notification to ANSI saying that there has been public review. There is a 45-day commencement period.
    • The SDO also initiates a formal consensus review. This is 45 days.
  1. The SDO receives a ballot at the end of the commencement period and comments on all the feedback from the public.
  2. If needed the SDO can recirculate the ballot due to major edits or unresolved objections to the newly proposed standard.
  3. Once complete the SDO submits the census-approved standard to ANSI for approval as a national standard.

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