Who enforces ANSI standards?

ANSI is very peculiar because it is recommended that employers incorporate ANSI standards into the daily procedures and visual communication specifications of their company, yet most of ANSI standards are voluntary. The standards themselves are seen more as excellent reference material for anyone who would like to take advantage of them regarding the betterment of the facility that they work in. They are also extremely helpful in standardizing definitions and information regarding electrical work or fire safety which are often considered dangerous, hence all the information needs to be clear and concise rather than scattered terms and procedural options.

The volunteers who belong to subcommittees in ANSI’s organization are the ones that publish those standards. They have created over 10,000 ANSI standards for others to use for reference, yet they have no power regarding enforcement. Some may wonder how companies are motivated to follow ANSI’s voluntary census standards when the company won’t even be penalized if they don’t incorporate them at facilities. Compare ANSI’s role to OSHA’s where if OSHA’s regulations are not complied with, the company in question often suffers consequences. Penalties are definitely a deterrent for failing to comply with the rules! Since ANSI doesn’t have the same kind of authority as OSHA, OSHA intervenes and essentially picks and chooses standards that they deem absolutely necessary for facilities to comply with.

OSHA Incorporation

This is where incorporation by reference and the general duty clause come into play. OSHA is the only organization that can enforce ANSI standards by using those two concepts. Otherwise, it is up to the employers to enforce ANSI standards in their workplace knowing that the standards have been proven to be the best practice method for all kinds of procedures. These can include testing processes, safety requirements and hazard control, manufacturing processes, recommendations for visual communication, training, etc.


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