When dealing with the import, export, and creation of protective footwear, regulations are put in place to ensure a standard of quality and safety are upheld for the products. Within rules, several governing bodies manage these. In the United States, all working environments are managed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding regulations.
OSHA works closely with independent non-profit organizations who create the standards which must be enforced, such as the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). When looking at the ANSI and ASTM, many organizations find confusion regarding their differences. Although these organizations both impact the regulations of protective footwear, there are distinct differences that must not be overlooked.
The purpose of this article is to explain ANSI and ASTM and clarify the differences between them.
What is OSHA?
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is an organization that enforces regulations that have been set out by the government body and are a part of the United States Department of Labour. Their focus is specifically on providing safe working conditions for workers. Within this includes processes and equipment such as protective footwear.
It is essential for all PPE used in the U.S to conform to the requirements set out in the 1910.136 standards. For protective footwear. In this standard, is it required that the footwear conforms with the ASTM F2412-05 standard, in which this article will detail their specific natures below.
What is ANSI?
ANSI is an acronym for the American National Standards Institute, a non-profit organization whose primary focus is on providing voluntary guidance on product safety and conformity specifications for a wide range of different industries within the United States, covering regulations including work environments.
ASNI as an organization does not directly develop standards itself. They give guidance and frameworks for safety and quality conformity systems that protect consumers and brands themselves. To do this, ANSI works closely with government bodies and experts within their industry field to collaborate and assist in developing regulations based on international and regional needs. The ANSI standard used to be a requirement for conformity with the OSHA regulations, which all protective PPE goods must be tested and adhered to. However, it was replaced by new ASTM for protective footwear standards in 200
What is ASTM?
ASTM, or the American Society for Testing and Materials, is similar to the ANSI in that it is an organization that focuses on helping develop universal standards and regulations. However, they have a more active role in standards and regulations. ASTM has the task of creating and publishing new and up-to-date testing and product standards to ensure safe and quality products. They do this by culminating over 30,000 members from 125 countries’ technical knowledge to develop over 12,000 international standards. These standards cover a wide array of industries internationally as a basis for the universal conformity of products and processes.
The ASTM provides these international standards in an annual book covering all new and amended regulations to ensure organizations can be up to date on all changes.
ASTM F2412-05 Protective footwear standard requirement:
For PPE to conform to OSHA’s requirements, testing must be done to review the general protectiveness of the footwear dependant on the workplace environment and must be supplied to workers. One of these requirements is the are: ASTM F2412-18a Standard Test Methods for Foot Protection, in which proactive footwear must be tested for:
Conduction Rating (Cr)
Electrical Hazard (EH)
Puncture/Penetration Resistant (PR)
Static Dissipative (SD)
Only if a third-party test conducts that the footwear conforms with the minimum requirements set out may it be used on-site.
What are the differences between ANSI and ASTM?
The main difference between ASNI and ASTM is that ANSI is focused primarily on voluntary guidance on processes and is an umbrella organization that covers several industries in which they accredit other organizations to do so and approve the standards they develop (including the ASTM).
On the other hand, ASTM is more active in the creation and enforcing of standards that the ASNI approves. Therefore they work closely together in the design and governance of new measures which must be conformed to.
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