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November/December 2009
Rules&Regs

Understanding Caveats

Detailing the Parameters of a Standard

Understanding the Regulations Governing ASTM Technical Committees (once known as “the Green Book”) and Form and Style for ASTM Standards (formerly known as “the Blue Book”) is necessary for anyone developing ASTM International standards. Rules&Regs explains some of the key points of these documents.

It is important to know what a standard can do, but knowing the parameters of a standard is necessary information as well. Form and Style for ASTM Standards makes provisions for this through the use of approved caveats, covered in Section F2 of the guide.

According to Section F2.3 of Form and Style, all ASTM standards are required to include the following general policy caveat, which has been approved by the board of directors:

  • This standard is subject to revision at any time by the responsible technical committee and must be reviewed every five years and if not revised, either reapproved or withdrawn. Your comments are invited either for revision of this standard or for additional standards and should be addressed to ASTM International headquarters. Your comments will receive careful consideration at a meeting of the responsible technical committee, which you may attend. If you feel that your comments have not received a fair hearing, you should make your views known to the ASTM Committee on Standards, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428.

Section F2.1 of Form and Style instructs that a generic safety hazards caveat is to appear in the scope sections of all (1) test methods; (2) specifications where test methods are detailed other than by reference; and (3) practices and guides that involve the use of material, operations and equipment. The following is the text for this safety hazards caveat:

  • This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and to determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.

Another important caveat is detailed in F2.4: the working document caveat, which is to be stated on the front page of every draft document or manuscript from a committee. The text of this caveat is:

  • This document is not an ASTM standard; it is under consideration within an ASTM technical committee but has not received all approvals required to become an ASTM standard. You agree not to reproduce or circulate or quote, in whole or in part, this document outside of ASTM committee/Society activities, or submit it to any other organization or standards bodies (whether national, international or other) except with the approval of the chairman of the committee having jurisdiction and the written authorization of the president of the Society. If you do not agree with these conditions, please immediately destroy all copies of the document. Copyright ASTM International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken, PA 19428. All rights reserved.

More specific caveats are also listed in Form and Style, including caveats for fire standards that are detailed in F2.2 (the addition of two new fire caveats was reported in the Rules&Regs column in the July/August SN).

A PDF of the form and style manual can be found here.