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This New Year, Standards Help You Pave Your Road with More Than Just Good Intentions

As the days of 2011 dwindle down, many Americans reflect on their successes over the past year, and resolve to achieve new goals or make improvements in other areas of their lives. These resolutions are very popular over champagne toasts on the 31st, but the enthusiasm often wanes not far into the new year. But fear not, resolutioners! The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the greater voluntary standards and conformity assessment community offer solutions that can give you a helpful boost in turning your 2012 goals into reality.

According to a survey done at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, the new year's resolution that tops the most Americans' lists for 2012 - like most years - is losing weight or improving their physique. To help gym-goers find the guidance and motivation they need to safely succeed, ANSI accredits personnel certification bodies that provide assessment and credentials for personal trainers. The ANSI Personnel Certification Accreditation Program enhances the credibility and value of personal trainer certifications by attesting to the competence of the certifying bodies. The result is greater consumer confidence in the quality of the training services they choose to help them slim down and get in shape.

It's never too late to be who you might have been.
-George Elliot

In addition to exercise, reducing calorie intake is the other key component to successful weight loss. But it must be done safely and without sacrificing nutrition. To assure calorie counters don't have to scrimp on the good stuff as they skimp on the bad, ANSI accredited standards developer and member NSF International, has published NSF/ANSI 173-2010, Dietary Supplements. This revised American National Standard contains updated requirements for dietary supplements that contain one or more of the following: a vitamin; a mineral; an herb or other botanical; an amino acid; a dietary substance for use by man to supplement the diet by increasing the total dietary intake; or a concentrate, metabolite, constituent, extract, or combinations of these ingredients.

The second-most-popular resolution on Northwestern's list is to sharpen professional accomplishments. This could involve seeking new opportunities for growth and expanding one's skill set through education or training. To assure that certificates issued by training programs actually have meaning and designate quality to consumers and employers, ANSI audited designator ASTM International published ASTM E2659-09, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs. This American National Standard requires that a certificate program meets predefined industry requirements for content, follows predetermined processes, includes constant feedback for quality improvement, and more. ASTM E2659-09 is a benchmark for the ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP), which offers a formal, third-party process for review and recognition of quality certificate programs.

Third on the list of goals for the new year is being a better person. While this may be tricky to measure on an individual level, a series of standards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) aims to help all types of organizations "be better" by operating in a socially responsible manner. ISO 26000:2010, Guidance for social responsibility, is intended to assist organizations in identifying, understanding, and undertaking practices and behaviors that are socially responsible. According to ISO, an organization's performance in relation to the society in which it operates and to its impact on the environment has become a critical part of measuring its overall performance and its ability to continue operating effectively.

One last thing -- if by chance your new year's resolution actually does involve the paving of roads, standards have you covered: ANSI accredited standards developer the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has recently revised ANSI/ASSE A10.17-2006 (R2011), Safe Operating Practices for Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Construction.

Happy New Year!


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]