Why use standards?
“We don't use standards, they are expensive and we know better” - I have heard that remark more than once the last 15 years. In order to better understand “standards", we have to define them - what is a standard?
ISO (the International Standards Organisation) states that "A standard is a document that provides requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used consistently to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose."
ISO - the global organisation for standardisation:
"ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 163 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges."
"International Standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services, and systems to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade."
Standards – the guiding principle
Standards allow companies to trade globally without technical barriers. Nearly all requirements and general principals for safety, design, construction and manufacturing are defined and dealt with in the various ISO standards (9001, 14001, etc.), so both parties (Manufacturer and User) -regardless of language or location- can recognise and understand the interpretation of the document and processes involved.
ISO standards are implemented and recognised globally – nearly 90% of countries worldwide use and accept these standards - and in my experience at Troax, standards have simplified the entire manufacturing process. At Troax, instead of wasting many hours translating documentation into the various local languages we simply refer to the correct ISO standard saving both ourselves – and more importantly, our customers – time.
Hitting two targets with one shot
My years working with standards and standardisation have given me a good level of “know-how” and insight into the writing of standards, and
I think the best standards are written when there is an equal mix of input from both manufacturer and end user
- over the last couple of years, the standards have been easier to read and understand because of this mix. Standards are not only for engineers but also the everyday worker.
Troax AB is a member of SIS, Swedish Standards Institute and SIS are a member of ISO; through this membership Troax AB actively participates in the ongoing work of developing standards.
At Troax we actively encourage and advise manufacturing according to harmonised ISO standards, as in doing so you use well-known principles, thereby making it easier for you to also comply with the various machinery directives. Standardisation is particularly helpful when completing risk assessments, as when you don’t manufacture according to standards, you will need to document all the relevant design and manufacturing processes and prove that these have been performed in such a way that a safe product is produced.
So you see - standards truly aren't expensive – in fact, they save money on a daily basis by reducing the hours you would otherwise spend on documentation. If you follow the standard you don’t have to do your own documentation (as it's already described in the standard!) and can simply refer to the standard and clause you use; less repeated documentation work allows you to recoup the cost of implementing the standards relatively quickly.
For more information about both ISO and Machinery standards please download Troax’s Your guide to Better Safeguarding, where you will see how Troax is implementing the various ISO Standards to benefit you, our Customer.
Please don’t hesitate to comment and debate this topic - let's keep this blog a living forum for a safer world!
The next blog post will be 8 December when Josephine Granell will talk about colours.
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