In an effort to create more uniform woodworking standards that promote safety, the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association (WMIA) has partnered with ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. ANSI is a private, non-profit federation of standards developing organizations and standard users. A new ANSI-accredited U.S./Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for ISO/TC 39/SC 4 will develop global standards for woodworking machinery. WMIA will provide funding and technical support for the effort and ANSI will serve as the US/TAG administrating body, managing the day-to-day operations and providing process and procedural guidance.
 
“The mission of the US/TAG is to thoroughly review the ISO standards for woodworking machines and produce an ISO standard which can later be nationally adopted as an ANSI-approved American National Standard,” says Mark Craig, CEO of Giben America and WMIA ANSI Chair. Until recently, Craig says, WMIA’s main relationship with ANSI was with the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America and its role in writing standards from a North American perspective.
 
The U.S. stakeholders participating on the US/TAG now will also be responsible for determining U.S. national consensus positions on any draft international standards under development in the ISO (International Standards Organization) committee.
 
According to Craig, global standards are reached after careful consideration and discussion between all participating members of the TC39 SC4 committee. Every member country has a vote and opportunities to raise concerns and discuss comments.
 
A Global Effort
 
Recently, in the first meeting of its kind, ten ISO members representing Germany, France, Austria, Brazil and Italy met with US/TAG (Technical Advisory Group) members and OSHA at the ANSI New York offices. WMIA provides funding and technical support for the effort and ANSI serves as the US/TAG administrating body. This five day summit’s goal was to review and comment on current TC 39 SC 4 machines standards working groups 1 and 2. The meeting’s agenda was successfully completed and much progress was made in a high spirit of cooperation and synergy.
 
The highlight of the meeting was the participation of Michael Levy, assistant regional administrator for OSHA, who explained OSHA’s operational procedures and standards. Levy’s presentation was followed by an intense Q&A session comparing and contrasting regulatory requirements and enforcement standards. 
 

Levy was impressed by the high level of technical preparation of the meeting participants, the depth of the safety standards discussion, as well as the international cast of the meeting: two ISO representatives — one from France, one from Germany  — were safety inspectors for their nations’ respective Department of Labor and Occupational Safety offices. The members of the US TAG feel that an important first step has been taken in the future involvement of OSHA in accepting and using harmonized ISO/ANSI standards in the U.S. 
 
WMIA encourages all people who are experts in specific machines, whether WMIA members or not, to contact the association. Any input can have a significant impact on the final standards that will affect the industry for years to come. 

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