Who is ANSI?

In our attempt to inform you about the regulatory bodies of the fall protection world, I'd like give you a brief history of ANSI (American National Standards Institute).

ANSI was originally formed in 1918 by several engineering societies and three government agencies when they decided to form a club. Not a "No Girls Allowed" club, but a regulatory club. Mmmmm fun. It started as the AESC, then it changed to the ASA, then it became the USASI, and it finally became ANSI. Seems to me that this club had trouble naming itself. The current name has been in effect since 1969. We're probably getting close to another name change.

What do they do? Well, they basically sit around and come up with regulations for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the US. In case you didn't know, ANSI does not just make regulations for safety products, they regulate a whole bunch of stuff.

The interesting thing about ANSI though, is that compliance is volunteer. Companies sign up to make sure their products meet ANSI Standards. However, it is not required. But, if you're not approved, in the safety industry, for example, your products won't get purchased. So, it's a bit of a double-edged sword.

That being said, I think ANSI Standards help to create safer products and healthier workplaces. This isn't a group that is throwing around half-assed standards. If it comes from ANSI, you should follow it.

Any ASNI thoughts you'd like to share?