Machinery Safety 101

Why should you get involved in Standards Development?

Committee groupIt’s now been more than 30 years since I first learned about stand­ards, in the form of the Ontario Elec­tric­al Code. I was study­ing elec­tri­city and elec­tron­ics in high school, and Steve Struk, the Elec­tri­city Teach­er at Erindale Sec­ond­ary School in Mis­sissauga, intro­duced us to the rules. My first encounter with inter­na­tion­al stand­ards was 25 years ago, when I was tasked with doing some envir­on­ment­al stress test­ing using a thermal, humid­ity and vibra­tion cham­ber at Ham­mond Man­u­fac­tur­ing in Guelph. Stand­ards were, and are, an import­ant part of engin­eer­ing and tech­no­logy, and they play increas­ingly import­ant roles in busi­ness and occu­pa­tion­al health and safety. Writ­ing stand­ards takes time. Lots of time. That time has to be provided by inter­ested people and organ­iz­a­tions who recog­nize the value that stand­ards bring to their work and their busi­nesses. Most people involved in stand­ards com­mit­tees are “paid volun­teers”, mean­ing that they are volun­teer­ing their time, but their employ­ers are pay­ing them for the time they spend engaged in stand­ards work. Some, like me, are true volun­teers, where the time spent on stand­ards work is giv­en without any com­pens­a­tion except the know­ledge that we are con­trib­ut­ing some small part to mak­ing Canada a bet­ter place to live and work.

So why should you get involved in stand­ards work? A recent SCC com­mu­niqué said it very well:

SCC’s mem­ber­ship in the Inter­na­tion­al Organ­iz­a­tion for Stand­ard­iz­a­tion (ISO) and the Inter­na­tion­al Elec­tro­tech­nic­al Com­mis­sion (IEC) provides Cana­dian busi­ness, gov­ern­ment and con­sumer stake­hold­ers with the oppor­tun­ity to sit at the table of glob­al experts mak­ing the rules that will then dic­tate the glob­al trade agenda with­in their field. As a mem­ber of a com­mit­tee devel­op­ing an inter­na­tion­al stand­ard, Canada becomes part of a com­munity of nation­al experts cre­at­ing the stand­ard they need, and can bene­fit greatly through great­er involve­ment in the devel­op­ment pro­cess.

As a mem­ber on a tech­nic­al com­mit­tee at ISO or IEC, a busi­ness can influ­ence the future of its mar­ket, get early access to cut­ting edge inform­a­tion and define its com­pet­it­ive envir­on­ment inter­na­tion­ally. Simply put: par­ti­cip­a­tion in inter­na­tion­al stand­ards devel­op­ment provides Cana­dians with an oppor­tun­ity to influ­ence a doc­u­ment that could affect their lives or busi­ness in the future.”

Get­ting involved in stand­ards writ­ing is reward­ing, chal­len­ging, work. Get­ting involved gives you a chance to con­trib­ute your know­ledge and expert­ise to Canada’s future, and provides an “…oppor­tun­ity to influ­ence a doc­u­ment that could affect their lives or busi­ness in the future.”

Get involved. Con­trib­ute. It’s worth it!

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