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Understanding ANSI, ASTM International, FM Global, NFPA, SEI and UL

Quick Tips #100

Many non-governmental agencies affect the products and services offered to the safety industry. Those that will be discussed here are: American National Standards Institute, ASTM International, FM Global, National Fire Protection Association, Safety Equipment Institute and Underwriters' Laboratories Inc.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a diversified and unique nonprofit organization that includes industry, standards developing organizations, trade associations, professional and technical societies, government, labor and consumer groups.

ANSI was formed originally as the American Engineering Standards Committee on October 19, 1918.

ANSI's mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems.

ASTM International

ASTM International, originally known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), was formed in 1898, when a group of engineers and scientists got together to address frequent rail breaks. Their work led to standardization on the steel used in railroad construction.

ASTM International is a not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems and services. It is one of the largest voluntary standards developing organizations in the world.

Standards developed at ASTM International are the work of over 30,000 members. These technical experts represent producers, users, consumers, government and academia from over 120 countries.

Members belong to one or more committees, each of which covers a subject area. These committees develop more than 12,000 ASTM International standards that can be found in the 77-volume Annual Book of ASTM standards.

FM Global

FM (Factory Mutual) Global is one of the world's largest commercial and industrial property insurance and risk management organizations specializing in property protection. It was formed in 1835 by Zachariah Allen, who felt the need for an industrial insurance group to focus on loss control.

FM Global has six business units and each unit helps its clients manage their property risks through a variety of products and services.

The FM Approvals business unit certifies industrial and commercial products and services.

When a product or service meets FM Approvals' standards, it is issued the FM Approved mark to signify it will perform as expected and support property loss prevention.

The FM Approvals business unit backs its evaluations with scientific research and testing and lists more than 45,000 certified products in its approval guide.

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 and headquartered in Quincy, Massachusetts. NFPA membership totals more than 81,000 individuals and more than 80 national trade and professional organizations.

NFPA's mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other life quality altering hazards by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

NFPA's 300 codes and standards influence every building, process, service, design and installation in the U.S. and many of those used in other countries. The National Electric Code (NFPA 70), Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) and Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code (NFPA 30) are widely used.

Safety Equipment Institute (SEI)

The Safety Equipment Institute (SEI) was organized in 1981 and is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private, nonprofit organization with third-party certification programs to test and certify a wide array of safety equipment. SEI's certification programs are accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in accordance with the standard, ISO Guide 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems.

SEI certification programs include on-going product testing and quality assurance audits of product models voluntarily submitted by manufacturers.

All product testing is done in accordance with the selected voluntary, government or other standards available for the given product.

SEI will certify the manufacturer's product model and grant the right to use the SEI certification label when:
(1) the testing lab has determined that the product model has been tested and successfully meets the appropriate product standard.
(2) the quality assurance auditor has determined that the manufacturer complies with SEI quality assurance requirements.

SEI publishes a certified product list and it is continuously updated to reflect the latest information.

SEI DOES NOT offer a warranty for the performance of the product, but having a product certified by SEI shows that the manufacturer is taking responsibility for producing a quality product.

Underwriters' Laboratories Inc. (UL)

Underwriters' Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products and writing safety standards since 1894.

Annually, UL evaluates more than 19,000 types of products, components, materials and systems with 21 billion UL marks appearing on 71,000 manufacturers' products each year.

ULs' mission is to promote safe living and working environments by the application of safety science and hazard-based safety engineering. This is supported by 127 inspection centers, 66 laboratory, testing and certification facilities and a staff of 6,200.

Product Reference

These six agencies affect many products in the Grainger Catalog. Here are some examples of sections in which they appear:

American National Standards Institute

  • Eyewear
  • Hard hats
  • Fall protection
  • Eye wash/showers

American Society for Testing and Materials

  • Clothing
  • Footwear

Factory Mutual

  • Lighting
  • Safety cans

National Fire Protection Association

  • Cabinets
  • Lighting
  • Respirators

Safety Equipment Institute

  • Air monitors
  • Eyewear
  • Hard hats

Underwriters' Laboratories

  • Lighting
  • Lockout/tagout
  • Safety cans

ANSI Headquarters
1819 L. Street, NW, Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 293-8020

ANSI Operations
25 W 43rd St., 4th Floor
New York, NY 10036
(212) 642-4900

ASTM International
100 Barr Harbor Dr.
West Conshohocken, PA 19428
(610) 832-9585

FM Global Corporate Offices
1301 Atwood Ave.
Johnston, RI 02919
(401) 275-3000

FM Approvals
1151 Boston-Providence Turnpike
Norwood, MA 02062
(781) 762-4300

National Fire Protection Association
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MA 02169-7471
(617) 770-3000

Safety Equipment Institute
1307 Dolly Madison Blvd. Suite 3A
McLean, VA 22101
(703) 442-5732

Underwriters' Laboratories Inc.
333 Pfingsten Rd.
Northbrook, IL 60062
(847) 272-8800

(Rev. 11/2012)

Find even more information you can use to help make informed decisions about the regulatory issues you face in your workplace every day. View all Quick Tips Technical Resources at

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Please Note:
The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This publication is not a substitute for review of the current applicable government regulations and standards specific to your location and business activity, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.

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