ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from Business and Institutional Lounge Seating to Accessible Communications Entry Systems

New York, Mar 24, 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:

Business and Institutional Lounge Seating
A member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute, BIFMA International has developed a number of standards for the office and business furniture manufacturing industry. BIFMA’s areas of standardization development range from general-purpose office chairs and desk products to ergonomic guidelines.

ANSI/BIFMA X5.4-2005, Standard for Office Furnishing—Lounge Seating—Tests provides a basis for evaluating the safety, durability, and structural adequacy of business and institutional lounge seating. Developed by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (BIFMA), the standard specifies the test methods, conditions, and laboratory equipment that can be used to evaluate lounge seating, as well as the minimum acceptance requirements to be used. ANSI/BIFMA X5.4-2005 is designed for use by manufacturers, specifiers, and users alike.

Accessible Communications Entry Systems
More than forty-nine million people in the United States have a visual, aural, or physical impairment. Standards can play an important role in fostering accessibility to many products and services for this segment of the population. Through the standards development efforts of ANSI member the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA), a new standard aims to improve the usability of controlled-access building security systems, or communications entry systems, for people with disabilities. Taking into account the needs specific to a range of physical and sensory impairments, ANSI/DASMA 303-2006, Performance Criteria for Accessible Communications Entry Systems, specifies a set of criteria against which the accessibility of communications entry systems can be evaluated.

ANSI/DASMA 303-2006 stipulates that a system’s instructions be accessible to everyone, requiring directions for use to be provided clearly by both visual and aural means. Criteria address the contrast ratio and font type of electronic display screens and signage; adjustability of volume; telephone handset compatibility with hearing aids; and operability with text-based telecommunication devices. To accommodate individuals with limited range of motion, the standard makes provisions that all control switches be operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. ANSI/DASMA 303-2006 also defines height and angle requirements of display screens to ensure easy visibility for people in wheelchairs.

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) For additional information on the wide array of standards applications, see the Media Tips and Case Studies section of the Institute's website.

 Homeland Defense and Security Standardization Collaborative