Standards Activities Overview
Overview of the U.S. Standardization System
The ANSI Federation’s primary goal is to enhance the global competitiveness of
U.S. business and the American quality of life by promoting and facilitating
voluntary consensus standards and ensuring their integrity.
The Institute, which is active in both national and international
standardization, is a major proponent of the United States Standards Strategy
(USS). This document establishes a framework that can be used by all interests
including companies, government, nongovernmental organizations, standards
developers and consumers, to further improve U.S. competitiveness abroad while
continuing to provide strong support for domestic markets. Using the USS as a
guide, ANSI is successfully facing the standardization challenges of a global
economy while addressing key quality-of-life issues such as safety and the
Although ANSI itself does not develop American National Standards (ANSs), it
provides all interested U.S. parties with a neutral venue to come together and
work towards common agreements. The process to create these voluntary standards
is guided by the Institute’s cardinal principles of consensus, due process and
openness and depends heavily upon data gathering and compromises among a
diverse range of stakeholders. The Institute ensures that access to the
standards process, including an appeals mechanism, is made available to anyone
directly or materially affected by a standard that is under development.
Thousands of individuals, companies, government agencies and other
organizations such as labor, industrial and consumer groups voluntarily
contribute their knowledge, talents and efforts to standards development.
In addition to facilitating the formation of standards in the U.S., ANSI
promotes the use of U. S. standards internationally, advocates U.S. policy and
technical positions in international and regional standards organizations and
encourages the adoption of international standards as national standards where
these meet the needs of the user community.
The Institute is the sole U.S. representative and dues-paying member of the two
major non-treaty international standards organizations, the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO), and, via the U.S. National Committee
(USNC), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). As a founding
member of the ISO, ANSI plays a strong leadership role in its governing body
while U.S. participation, via USNC, is equally strong in the IEC.
Through ANSI, the U.S. has immediate access to the ISO and IEC standards
development processes. ANSI participates in almost the entire technical program
of both the ISO and the IEC, and administers many key committees and subgroups.
Part of its responsibilities as the U.S. member body to the ISO include
accrediting U.S. Technical Advisory Groups (U.S. TAGs), whose primary purpose
is to develop and transmit, via ANSI, U.S. positions on activities and ballots
of the international technical committee. U.S. position for the IEC are
endorsed and closely monitored by the USNC Technical Management Committee
In many instances, U.S. standards are taken forward to ISO and IEC, through ANSI
or USNC, where they are adopted in whole or in part as international standards.
For this reason, ANSI plays an important part in creating international
standards that support the worldwide sale of products, which prevent regions
from using local standards to favor local industries. Since volunteers from
industry and government, not ANSI staff, carry out the work of the
international technical committees, the success of these efforts often is
dependent upon the willingness of U.S. industry and government to commit the
resources required to ensure strong U.S. technical participation in the
international standards process.
ANSI currently provides a forum for more than 200 ANSI-accredited standards
developers representing approximately 200 distinct organizations in the private
and public sectors. These groups work cooperatively to develop voluntary
national consensus standards and American National Standards (ANS). In 2002,
there were approximately 10,000 such documents.
In order to maintain ANSI accreditation, standards developers are required to
consistently adhere to a set of requirements or procedures known as the
“ANSI Essential Requirements: Due process requirements for American National Standards,” that govern the consensus development process. Due
process is the key to ensuring that ANSs are developed in an environment that
is equitable, accessible and responsive to the requirements of various
stakeholders. The open and fair ANS process ensures that all interested and
affected parties have an opportunity to participate in a standard’s
development. It also serves and protects the public interest since standards
developer accredited by ANSI must meet the Institute’s requirements for
openness, balance, consensus and other due process safeguards.
The hallmarks of the American National Standards process include:
consensus on a proposed standard by a group or “consensus body” that includes
representatives from materially affected and interested parties;
broad-based public review and comment on draft standards;
consideration of and response to comments submitted by voting members of the
relevant consensus body and by public review commenters;
incorporation of approved changes into a draft standard; and
right to appeal by any participant that believes that due process principles
were not sufficiently respected during the standards development in accordance
with the ANSI-accredited procedures of the standards developer.
The ANSI process serves all standardization efforts in the United States by
providing and promoting a process that withstands scrutiny, while protecting
the rights and interests of every participant. In essence, ANSI standards
quicken the market acceptance of products while making clear how to improve the
safety of those products for the protection of consumers.
ANSI Procedures, Guides and Forms