You Already Know About OSHA – What Does ANSI Have to Do with Anything?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, is a governmental agency that is well known in the workplace. However, you may have also heard of another agency known as ANSI. While these agencies operate in similar arenas, there are differences you should know about what they do and how they impact the workplace.

What is ANSI?

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. This agency is best described by its goal to create voluntary consensus standards. The point of this goal is to create standards across an industry to ensure safety and quality within that industry. The standards created by ANSI are made by a consensus. This means that a group of people from all levels of the industry create and approve these standards together. One important thing to note is that ANSI does not have the power to enforce these standards. Additionally, ANSI does not technically create these standards. ANSI simply oversees the process of these standards being made. It will give final approval and the standards will be in effect for five years when they will be reviewed and revised.

How Is ANSI Different from OSHA?

Unlike OSHA, ANSI is not a government agency, and adherence to its standards is completely voluntary. As mentioned, ANSI oversees and approves the standards being made. OSHA regulations are enforced for the sake of workplace safety. Failure to follow these regulations leads to consequences. ANSI standards will often cover the same areas as OSHA regulations. In fact, OSHA can write ANSI standards into law. OSHA can also make references to ANSI standards within its own regulations. This is a more indirect method of enforcing ANSI standards, but it is still the law.  

Why is ANSI Important?

You may be wondering why ANSI standards exist if OSHA is already creating regulations. ANSI is important because it is working to create individual regulations as industry-wide standards. In one industry, there can be many different groups creating standards. This leads to different businesses following different procedures. ANSI aims to approve certain standards to become universal. This way, everyone within the industry is following the same standards of health and safety. Before standards are made official ANSI standards, they must be created by a consensus, put up for public review, and any comments on the standard must be addressed.

While ANSI is not an agency that enforces standards and regulations, it still does a lot of good for workplace safety. ANSI aims to create a universal standard within industries. This helps to keep everyone working under the same conditions.


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