News of the ASTM International Board of Directors
ASTM International’s board of directors last met April 23-24 in Stockholm, Sweden. The following is a summary of reports made and actions taken at those meetings. For a feature article on the board’s other activities in Stockholm, click here.
For further details on any of the following topics, contact ASTM President James A. Thomas, ASTM, 100 Barr Harbor Dr., P.O. Box C700, West Conshohocken, PA 19428-2959 (phone: 610-832-9598).
Appointment of the 2008 Nominating Committee
The board approved the 2008 Nominating Committee, which is charged with selecting the slate of candidates for 2009 ASTM directors and officers. The committee is composed of the three past chairs of the ASTM board and six other individuals. The following people are serving on the 2008 Nominating Committee:
Technical Committee Operations
ASTM Vice President of Technical Committee Operations Katharine Morgan reported on new initiatives within that division. A new standards development activity on personnel certificate programs has been established within Committee E36 on Laboratory and Inspection Agency Accreditation to develop standards that support the recognition and/or accreditation of certificate-granting entities to issue personnel certificates. Another new activity was created this year to develop standards for green meetings and events within the sustainability subcommittee of ASTM Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings. The new group’s focus will be the development of standards for environmental performance involving meetings, conferences, exhibitions and related events.
Staff is reviewing all 12,000 ASTM International standards to determine compliance with Part H of the Form and Style Manual for ASTM Standards (the section that specifies use of the International System of Units) and to ascertain what types of numerical units are used in ASTM standards. Morgan said that staff managers would report on the results of this project to each executive subcommittee and work with the technical committees to develop an action plan to ensure that the standards comply with the provisions of the manual.
Morgan also noted the development of new member support services, including the ongoing expansion of the Interlaboratory Studies Program (190 active programs, 47 complete, 61 in balloting as of the date of the report), self-service Word files for ballot item preparation, expanded content and enhanced search options in the online ASTM Dictionary of Engineering Science and Technology, and the launch of WebEx conferencing as the new platform for virtual meetings. Initiatives to be developed or completed soon include online workspace for task groups, the online disposition of negative votes, and Dun and Bradstreet assistance for member classifications and voting assignments.
James Olshefsky, director of external relations, reported on global outreach initiatives. From the October 2007 board meeting to the April 2008 meeting, the national standards bodies of Grenada, Kazakhstan, Mozambique and St. Vincent and the Grenadines signed memorandums of understanding with ASTM International.
Two key benefits are offered to MOU signatories: the Standards Expert Exchange Program and the technical assistance program. Each year, through SEEP, ASTM hosts three standards experts for a one-month period at ASTM headquarters. During their stay, the experts learn about ASTM International, its operations, the technical committees and ASTM’s virtual tools. The 2008 standards experts will arrive at ASTM in late September. They represent the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards (South Korea), Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y de la Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual (Peru) and the Standards Association of Zimbabwe. Through the technical assistance program, ASTM offers its technical and professional training programs to several of the signatories at minimal cost. In 2008, 20 programs will be offered. Global Cooperation is also investigating opportunities to utilize the World Bank’s Global Development Learning Network to interact via videoconference with developing countries around the world.
Global Cooperation staff has visited several embassies and key organizations located in Washington, D.C., to provide updates on ASTM’s MOU program or upcoming events. Visits have included the embassies of the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mauritius, the Russian Federation and Thailand, as well as offices of the World Bank.
In terms of translations of ASTM material into other languages, 27 of the 47 ASTM standards referenced in ACI 318-05 have been translated, reviewed and posted to the ASTM Web site. And, as requested by the board of directors at its October 2007 meeting, the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees has been translated into Chinese, Spanish and Arabic. The translations are available on the ASTM Web site.
Olshefsky also reported on another ASTM area of interest that he oversees, outreach to academia. As of March 2008, there were 2,900 students enrolled as student members of ASTM International, with 60 percent of those from outside the U.S.
This year, ASTM International has again joined six other societies as a sponsor of the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering program. Through this program, interns learn how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy issues through a nine-week program in Washington, D.C. Each intern is also required to develop a policy paper on a topic of mutual interest to themselves and their sponsoring organization. ASTM’s intern for 2008 is James M. Bryce, a senior studying civil engineering at the University of Missouri – Columbia. Bryce’s emphasis will be on the geotechnical applications of recycled materials and industrial byproducts. During the internship, Bryce will work closely with members from new Subcommittee D18.14 on Geotechnics of Sustainable Construction.
Finally, Olshefsky reported on a proposal for the development of the ASTM International Graduate Scholarship for students enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program related to the scope of activities of ASTM International. The board approved the funding of the scholarship and requested that staff investigate and refine the process for administering it.
Barbara Schindler, director of corporate communications, reported on the revamping of the print and online versions of Standardization News. Now published bimonthly (with a mirror Spanish version published online only and concurrent with the English version), SN has a new editorial model that provides feature articles with broad reader appeal and columns that provide practical information about the development and use of ASTM standards. In addition, a new SN-only search function has been added to SN pages online.
To complement the reduced frequency of SN, the corporate communications department has created the monthly e-News, distributed by e-mail to ASTM International members and customers. The newsletter provides at-a-glance information about new ASTM and technical committee initiatives, training programs, meetings, seasonal stories of interest connected to ASTM standards, links to other ASTM publications and committee meeting information. The newsletter launched in January and has been well-received by recipients.
The ASTM International Advantage Award is in its second year. The award program, with significant cash prizes, solicits case studies showing the beneficial impact of ASTM standards. Papers for the 2008 Advantage Award have been received and are in the judging process. Winners, if any, will be announced in a subsequent issue of SN.
The first recipients of the ASTM International President’s Leadership Award were selected. The ASTM board established the award last year to recognize extraordinary leadership within the first five years of an individual’s association with ASTM. The first awardees were Richard Peri, chair of Committee F39 on Normal and Utility Category Airplane Electrical Wiring Systems, and Angie M. Shepherd, vice chair of Committee F23 on Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment.
Government and Industry Relations
Jeff Grove, vice president of global policy and industry affairs, reported that the ASTM International Washington office is engaged in a number of activities involving federal and state legislation, regulations, international trade issues involving standards and corporate outreach to industry and trade associations.
Federal Legislation and Agency Outreach
ASTM staff continues to work with congressional staff on toy safety issues. The Senate-passed version of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act would make ASTM F963, Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety, a mandatory consumer rule and would instruct the Consumer Product Safety Commission to adopt by regulation any future revisions to the standard. The legislation also includes the creation of a new testing and accreditation scheme requiring that toys entering U.S. commerce be tested by accredited bodies to mandatory toy safety standards (such as ASTM F963). Finally, the Senate legislation requires that portable gasoline containers sold in the U.S. have child-resistant caps that meet ASTM F2517, Specification for Determination of Child Resistance of Portable Fuel Containers for Consumer Use, and that equestrian helmets meet ASTM F1163, Specification for Protective Headgear Used in Horse Sports and Horseback Riding, as an interim standard until CPSC conducts a more formal rulemaking process.
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was signed into law on Dec. 17, 2007, and references certain ASTM International biofuel standards. In particular, the new law builds upon an existing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirement by mandating the use of ASTM D6751, Specification for Biodiesel Fuel Blend Stock (B100) for Middle Distillate Fuels, for such fuel used in the U.S. The law creates a deadline for ASTM to publish two separate specifications for diesel fuel containing 5 percent and 20 percent biodiesel within a year after the date of enactment. If the new specifications are not published by the Dec. 17 deadline, EPA is directed to initiate a rulemaking to do so. Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants is actively engaged and working to meet the deadline.
ASTM staff and members of Committee F13 on Pedestrian/Walkway Safety and Footwear have testified before officials of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and met with agency staff to discuss the need to update references to consensus standards that are incorporated into the regulatory language that OSHA uses to protect worker safety and health. OSHA’s Proposed Rule on Updating National Consensus Standards proposes to revise agency policy by eliminating the current requirement to use standards that have “been adopted and promulgated by a nationally recognized standards-producing organization” and replace it with a vague mandate for industry to utilize a “good design standard.” The OSHA proposal seems inconsistent with Public Law 104-113 (the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995) and has been opposed by F13 committee members, the American National Standards Institute, other standards developing organizations and labor unions.
Outreach to European Regulators and Industry
Grove updated the board on ASTM International’s commitment to extend government and industry outreach to include European governmental institutions, trade associations and related organizations. There are two key components of the initial strategy in Europe: 1) introduce ASTM International as a leading source of high quality international standards and build support for the multiple-path approach to the recognition and use of international standards by European industry and regulators; and 2) review the existing legal and regulatory framework in Europe to identify barriers to the acceptance and use of ASTM standards (such as policies creating a presumption of conformity with the essential requirements of European directives and related regulations when utilizing CEN (European Committee for Standardization) harmonized standards)and formulate strategies that would extend similar status to international standards developed by ASTM.
Grove reported that ASTM’s initial interactions with the European Commission and Parliament officials have focused on areas linked to the current legislative and regulatory agenda in Brussels and have highlighted certain ASTM International standards that are more advanced than those of comparable international standards organizations. Such areas include self-extinguishing cigarettes, toy safety, amusement ride safety, nanotechnology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing and light sport aircraft. Meetings have included the chairs of key parliamentary committees on trade, consumer protection and business competitiveness and Commission officials responsible for European standards policy, consumer protection, and EU-wide regulatory harmonization. Other meetings have been scheduled with trade associations, business and trade policy think-tanks, and consumer groups and nongovernmental organizations.
W.T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award
The board voted unanimously to award the 2008 William T. Cavanaugh Memorial Award to Donald E. Marlowe, agency standards coordinator at the Office of Science and Health Coordination, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Md.