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Voluntary Standards Cover the Spectrum: from Attic Ladders to Biometrics

In an effort to communicate the vital role that standards play in daily life, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 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:

Attic Ladders
Attics are often hard to get to and awkwardly shaped, leading many families to use them primarily for storage of seasonal or bulky items. To ensure homeowners safe access to and from attics when retrieving the holiday decorations or camping supplies, the American Ladder Institute (ALI) has released ANSI-ASC A14.9-2010, Safety Requirements for Disappearing Attic Stairways.

ANSI-ASC A14.9-2010, a revision replacing ASC A14.9-2004, prescribes rules for permanently installed metal or wood disappearing attic stairways used in household or commercial settings. This American National Standard provides guidelines for the design, construction, and use of attic stairways including information regarding materials and construction of both household rated and commercial systems. Updates include revised test requirements, duty rating guidelines, clarification of wood component requirements, and revised figures with dimension detail.

ALI, an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer, is a not-for-profit membership association dedicated to promoting safe ladder use and serving ladder manufacturers and manufacturers of ladder components throughout North America. ALI works to educate the public as to the selection, care, and safe use of ladders, and to develop and disseminate appropriate standards for design, construction, testing, care, and use of ladders.

Biometrics offers a secure and simple method for measuring and analyzing human physical and behavioral characteristics, such as fingerprints, eye retinas/irises, and voice patterns for authentication purposes used in identity access management and access control. Authentication by biometric verification is becoming increasingly common in corporate and public security systems, consumer electronics, and point of sale applications.

ANSI X9.84-2010, Biometric Information Management and Security for the Financial Services Industry, a recently published standard from Accredited Standards Committee X9 Financial Services (ASC X9), was developed to provide guidance on the use of biometrics in transaction-based systems. ANSI X9.84-2010 also defines a method for disparate systems to communicate biometric information in a common format. A revision to ANSI X9.84:2003, the 2010 edition describes the security framework for using biometrics for authentication of individuals in financial services. It introduces existing types of biometric technologies and addresses issues concerning their application. The standard also describes the architectures for implementation, specifies the minimum security requirements for effective management, and provides control objectives and recommendations suitable for use by a professional practitioner.

ASC X9, an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer, seeks to develop, establish, maintain, and promote standards for the financial services industry. ASC X9's standards are used throughout the industry as well as by the federal government in order to facilitate delivery of financial services and products to users and promote global commerce.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]