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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from High Visibility Vests to Product Safety Information

New York  November 21, 2006


In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, ANSI Online will publish, on an ongoing basis, a series of snapshots of the diverse standards initiatives undertaken in the global and national standards arena, many of which are performed by ANSI members and ANSI-accredited standards developers. Two of the latest selections follow:

High Visibility Vests
For emergency personnel deployed on roadways in response to an accident or other emergency situation, high visibility vests serve as a first line of defense against dangerous highway traffic. The latest standard from the International Safety Equipment Association (ISEA) outlines important design and performance criteria for vests worn by police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS) and other public safety personnel in such instances.

ANSI/ISEA 207-2006, High Visibility Public Safety Vests, is specifically designed to increase the safety and visibility of these emergency responders. Particularly critical during low-light conditions and inclement weather, vests that meet ANSI/ISEA 207-2006 combine fluorescent and retro-reflective materials for enhanced visibility under even the most compromised lighting conditions. The standard also includes important design options for break-away features. Fastened with Velcro rather than zippers, buttons or a sewn seam, break-away vests can be pulled quickly and easily away from a responder’s body, should it become caught on a passing vehicle.

ANSI/ISEA 207 also includes features specific to the needs of emergency responders, such as a cut-out side for police officer’s weapons or EMS belt-mounted equipment. The standard also specifies garment dimensions such that the vest can be sufficiently large enough to be worn over a firefighter’s coat. Finally, to clearly and visibly differentiate between different types of emergency personnel, ANSI/ISEA 207 also allows for color-specific markings on the vest panel or trim to distinguish between police, fire and EMS responders.

Product Safety Information
Whether a product is meant for an adult, child or favorite pet, understanding its safety and potential risks is key to smart purchasing or gift-giving. And yet, reviewing a product’s accompanying information is something that too often gets overlooked, with consumers complaining that the product manual itself should have come with its own special decoder device.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has come to the rescue with ANSI Z535.6-2006, Standard for Product Safety Information in Product Manuals, Instructions, and Other Collateral Materials—a new standard that lays out requirements for the clear and consistent communication of safety information for a wide array of products. Specifically, the new standard addresses “collateral information,” which includes printed or electronic documents that accompany a product in the form of owner’s manuals, maintenance instructions, assembly instructions, and user guides.

ANSI Z535.6-2006 seeks to establish a uniform layout to ensure that important safety information will be communicated effectively and consistently with other safety signs and labels that might also be in use. The document is part of the ANSI Z535 series of standards, which guides the communication of safety information in public spaces, the workplace, and for a range of industrial and consumer product.


This "standards snapshot" was made possible by the steady stream of press information disseminated by standards developing organizations to keep the ANSI Federation abreast of their achievements. As the Institute receives news of published voluntary standards and voluntary standards initiatives with broad appeal and impact, similar articles will be posted to the ANSI Online News page. Please continue to forward your updates to the Communications and Public Relations department at (f) 212.398.0023 or (e) pr@ansi.org. For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

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