Are NFPA and ISO standards the same?

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) are two of the largest and best-known entities when it comes to creating standards that are used by businesses around the world. While they are certainly similar in many ways, these two organizations are not the same.

What is the NFPA?

NFPA is focused primarily on safety related to fire prevention in the workplace and other areas. This does have a somewhat broader implementation in that they cover many things that could cause fires including hazardous chemicals, electricity, and more.

What is ISO?

ISO doesn’t have a set area of focus like the NFPA does. This allows them to create standards for a much wider range of things including testing and laboratory calibration, technical wiring and equipment, quality management, and much more. They do have fire safety standards that they publish, but unlike the NFPA, that is not their only area of focus.

Overlapping Standards

Both the NFPA and ISO have standards in place that apply to fire safety and prevention. These two sets of standards are not exactly the same, but they do have a lot of overlap. It seems clear that both organizations work hard to ensure they are issuing best practices that will help to improve safety whenever they are implemented. With this being the case, it is not surprising to see that the standards that they publish are often quite similar.

Not Enforced

Another thing that the NFPA and ISO have in common is that they are private standards organizations. This means that they don’t have any type of enforcement ability. Given the fact that they have a long track record of safety improvement, however, governmental organizations like OSHA often adopt their standards, which essentially makes them enforceable by the government.

In the end, companies can greatly benefit by keeping up to date with all the recommendations put forth by both OSHA and NFPA. It will be quite rare to find situations where the two agencies issue contradictory recommendations, which means you can follow both to help maximize the safety of a given facility.


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