ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from Lighting in Healthcare Facilities to Symbols for Agricultural Equipment

New York, May 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:

Lighting for Healthcare Facilities
Maintaining proper lighting conditions in hospitals and healthcare facilities means striking a delicate balance between the needs of healthcare providers and the comfort of patients. The Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed a recommended practice for optimizing lighting conditions for medical staff and patients.

ANSI/IESNA RP-29-2006, Lighting for Hospitals and Health Care Facilities establishes guidelines for lighting designers and healthcare professionals to achieve lighting conditions specific to patient care profiles. Lighting requirements for minimal care patients are similar to a typical hotel room, while operating rooms require higher levels of light intensity to assist surgical preparation and procedures. ANSI/IESNA RP-29-2006 also indicates that lighting for acute general hospitals, chronic general, and chronic specialized institutions should consider both the immediate objectives of a patient’s care and the services that may eventually be required.

Maximizing lighting is essential to minimizing fatigue and eyestrain of medical staff. However, the recommended practice stipulates that light which enables doctors to note important color nuances must not produce glare or overexpose a patient's retina. The practice also addresses lighting in multi-bed hospital rooms, calling for a comfortable, low-stress environment that provides adequate yet unobtrusive light for all patients.

Symbols for Agricultural Equipment
Graphic symbols—like those seen on computers, cars, and clothing care labels—are commonly used in place of written words to communicate a wide range of information. One of the most important subjects covered by graphic symbols is safety, with symbols that alert users, regardless of their spoken language, to the safe operation of equipment and machines.

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), an ANSI member and accredited standards developing organization, has recently revised a standard defining graphic symbols for agricultural equipment. ANSI/ASAE S304.7-JUN00 (R2006), Graphical Symbols for Operator Controls and Displays on Agricultural Equipment, is designed to promote the safe operation of complex equipment such as tractors. The standard establishes color-coded graphic symbols for tractor functions such as multiple direction control levers, transmission gears, engine emergencies, and speed. ASABE updates the standard periodically to reflect advancements in tractor technology.

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.

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