What is ANSI? – Understanding Why ANSI is Important to You


As employee safety is generally of high priority, understanding how best to safeguard workers in the workplace requires knowledge and insight beyond what most employers possess. That’s why businesses voluntarily adhere or are mandated by law to safety standards established by third-party organizations like American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Among these bodies ANSI has long been recognized as being among the oldest and most active of its kind.

ANSI is a not-for-profit organization that acts as the voice of U.S. standards and conformity assessment system. As such, ANSI serves to bring together representatives from government, industry, academia, and the public in developing voluntary consensus standards aimed at increasing U.S. business competitiveness while protecting consumers and the environment.

ANSI membership enables businesses in virtually every sector of the economy, such as electrical utilities, oil and gas drilling/refining companies, contract electricians and more.

Standards development begins with accredited standards developing organizations (SDOs). According to ANSI estimates, hundreds of “traditional” standards setting organizations exist today, but 90% of standards come from only 20 largest SDOs. National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters’ Laboratories are well known SDOs that help develop standards in arc rated and flame resistant clothing; both ANSI members. Furthermore, ASTM International (originally the American Society for Testing and Materials) also frequently collaborate in setting workplace safety standards together.

An SDO seeking accreditation with the American National Standards Institute must abide by its Essential Requirements in order to remain accredited, which require them to conduct their business in an open, transparent, and accessible manner with all stakeholders – including the public. This ensures all affected parties can participate in shaping standards that serve businesses, consumers and the environment equally well.

Once an SDO completes its standard, it undergoes a separate collaborative review process in order to earn American National Standard status. Since 1991, approximately 11,500 standards have received this status; for approval to occur ANSI must find that its development process embodies several key principles including those listed below.

Consensus must be reached among representatives from materially affected and interested parties, and standards are subject to public reviews where any member of the public may submit comments for review by consensus bodies and public review commenters in good faith.
An appeals process is mandatory, so when purchasing clothing or boots meeting the standards set by ANSI or one of its member organizations, rest assured that considerable time and effort have gone into creating standards meant to keep you safe.

Since 1918, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has celebrated their centennial. Serving as the official US representative to ISO, they represent over 270,000 businesses and organizations and 30 million professionals globally. www.ansi.org provides much of this post’s information; visit their site to gain more.

ISO 18949:2019