ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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ANSI Launches Accreditation Program for Personnel Certification Bodies

New York, Mar 03, 2003

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private non-profit organization that administers and coordinates the U.S. voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system, has announced the launch of a new accreditation program for organizations that certify personnel. The program will operate under the auspices of the new International Standard, ISO/IEC 17024, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification Systems of Persons.

The breadth and scope of certification programs in existence today is tremendous: programs exist for financial planners, public accountants, safety professionals, non-destructive testing experts, supply and purchasing management professionals, the construction industry, health care professionals and hundreds more. Accreditation under the international standard will protect the integrity of individual certification programs. It will also promote consumer and public confidence in the capabilities and competence of the people who provide specialized services or who create the products that support our daily lives and livelihoods.

“A wide variety of professionals are now required, or at least encouraged, to pursue certification as a means of demonstrating that they have the necessary knowledge, skills and abilities to perform their work,” explains Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI vice-president for conformity assessment. “ISO/IEC 17024 addresses the pressing need for international standardization of consumer, business and industrial services, and harmonizes the certification of people worldwide.”

Dr. Roy Swift, director of ANSI’s accreditation program, explains that the accreditation process will drive “continual improvement” by requiring a certifier of personnel to complete a comprehensive process, including the submission of documentation for each of the requirements identified in the International Standard, an on-site audit, and the correction of any non-conformities (i.e., requirements that have not been met).

Because accreditation under the Standard is completely voluntary, certification bodies are not required to participate. However, Dr. Swift asserts that accreditation by ANSI will confer additional credibility to certifying organizations and promote [their] recognition in national and international arenas.

“Many certifying organizations are already operating at the regional and international level. Programs accredited under ISO/IEC 17024 will increase the potential for national and international reciprocity of certified individuals and personnel certification bodies, thereby allowing individuals like a neighborhood mechanic to have skills that translate across national lines.”

ANSI, on behalf of the United States, is the first national body to launch an accreditation program for personnel certification bodies based upon the ISO/IEC 17024 standard.

ANSI’s mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization system. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The Institute has offices in New York City and Washington, DC.