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A Standards Strategy for the United States

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has announced the approval of a National Standards Strategy for the United States. The strategy establishes a framework that can be used by all interests—companies, government, non-governmental organizations, standards developers and consumers—to improve U.S. competitiveness abroad while continuing to provide strong support for domestic markets and, at the same time, addressing key quality-of-life issues such as the environment. It builds on the strengths of the U.S. system by proposing a set of strategic and tactical initiatives within that framework that can be used by all interests to meet national and individual organizational objectives. The initiatives are designed to reaffirm traditional strengths such as sectorally based standards, consensus, openness, and transparency while giving additional emphasis to speed, relevance, and meeting the needs of public interest constituencies. ANSI, industry, government, and standards developers plan to launch implementation initiatives immediately following the testimony; related activities will continue into the new year and beyond. The Institute is responsible for tracking both support of the strategy and progress on implementation activities. The text of the strategy is available at http://web.ansi.org/public/nss.html.

NACOSH Makes Recommendations to OSHA

The National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health has issued a report detailing problems with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards-setting process and recommendations for solving those problems. In response to concerns expressed by professionals involved in occupational health and safety, standards developers (including ASTM), and government representatives, NACOSH set out in 1998 to study OSHA’s standard setting process. The resulting report describes specific shortcomings in OSHA’s current approach to standards development and a list of 30 recommendations to the agency for improvement. The recommendations cover management of the standards development process, making use of standards advisory committees and negotiated rulemaking committees, effective partnering with consensus standards setting organizations and professional associations, and congressional and executive action. The NACOSH report is available on the Web.

New Measurement Lab

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has broken ground on the Advanced Measurement Laboratory. When it is ready for occupancy in 2004, the 47,480-square-metre, $235.2 million AML will give NIST and its partners access to research and development capabilities not available anywhere else in the world. The AML will feature stringent controls on particulate matter, temperature, vibration, and humidity that are unattainable in current NIST buildings. The AML will consist of five lab sections: two below ground (for improved vibration isolation and temperature control), two above ground, and one ultraclean room wing above ground. For more information, go to the Nist Web site. //

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