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The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced the release of a report of the Oct. 28, 2021, World Standards Week special event, Measuring the Impact of Voluntary Consensus Standards on Human Health and Safety. ANSI, in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), convened the event to share best practices and methodologies for measuring standards’ impact on health and safety. The meeting brought together a diverse group of speakers representing trade associations and professional societies, standards developing organizations (SDOs), government regulators, and consumers. The goal was to initiate a dialogue, build upon existing work, and fuel future collaboration to develop common measurement methodologies.
The event included opening remarks by ANSI president and CEO, Joe Bhatia, highlighting the public-private partnership that drives the adoption and use of voluntary standards and benefits the consumer. A keynote address from Laurie E. Locascio, Ph.D., vice president for research, University of Maryland, and President Biden’s nominee to be the next director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), described how standards benefit human health, safety, and the environment; facilitate trade; and foster innovation. Speakers from SDOs and government delivered presentations on the use of data; the economic and business cases for measuring standards’ impact on health and safety; a case study on the safety, performance, and effectiveness of medical electrical equipment standards; and case studies on occupational health and safety management systems standards and the use of leading indicators in standards. A moderated panel discussion featuring representatives of SDOs, government, the workplace, consumers, and manufacturers, as well as an open dialogue with the audience, further developed the themes.
There was consensus that this is a complex and extremely important topic that needs to be addressed going forward. Whatever the result of a specific impact study, care needs to be taken with messaging because we are in an environment of miscommunication and disinformation. It is important to have the right kind of impact story or data for the right audience. It was acknowledged that there are different kinds of standards: test methods, product standards, process standards, management system standards, etc. There are also a wide variety of effects, from injuries to chronic health outcomes. All of this complicates the overall landscape and how to approach this subject.
A follow-up meeting among those who expressed interest in continuing this discussion has been scheduled for Jan. 19, 2022. For additional information, contact Jim McCabe (firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-642-8921).