Standards explained

When you read the pages on this site, you will realise that the basis of nearly our work is standards - be they product standards or systems standards.  It is appropriate therefore, to devote one page to the topic. 

Standards may be grouped by various characteristics - type, subject matter, geographical application, etc.  It is the last of these which is covered here.  Application and enforcement will be touched upon too.  For our purposes, standards are national, regional or international.  Examples: National standards (USA - ANSI); Regional (Europe - EN); International - ISO.

In the United Kingdom, the national standards body is the British Standards Institution (BSI) and it is through BSI Technical Committees that the UK contributes to the development of standards within the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).  Other European member states mirror this system.   Every member state of the European Union is represented on CEN, through its national standards body, as are the EFTA countries.  CEN produces the ENs, which are then transposed into national standards by each national standards body, which makes them available for purchase.  For an EN to be recognised under the European PPE Directive it must be a 'harmonised standard'.  In practice, this means that the EN has been assessed as satisfying the applicable Basic Health and Safety Requirements of the Directive, followed by announcement of its harmonisation in the Official Journal of the EU.  Member states usually publish the harmonised European standards for the information of their manufacturers, Notified Bodies, laboratories, users, safety organisations etc.

In the same way that national standards bodies are represented at CEN, they are also represented at the International Standards Organisation (ISO).  Likewise, ISO produces the international standard, but ISO members are not obliged to publish it.  The application of standards is normally voluntary.  States (countries) may implement legislation that makes the application of standards mandatory, but this topic is outside the scope of this page.

For its work, INSPEC uses the English language version of any standard as the reference.  On other pages of this site you will see dozens of references to standards.  Clearly it is not the purpose of these pages to provide detailed information on those standards.  We can however direct you to some useful sources to enable you to research for yourself.

 

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