The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) published 414 national standards in the financial year that ended 31 March 2021, comprising 127 new standards as well as adopted, amended and/or revised ones. This record number for a one-year period compares with the 359 national standards published in 2020 and 241 in 2019.
Information contained in South African National Standards (SANS) are fundamental to the economic and industrial optimisation of the country, according to SABS. With approximately 7400 SANS available, South African organisations have access to technical specifications on almost every product, service and management system in the South African market.
SANS are developed and published through technical committees constituting members of the public including industry stakeholders, academics, students, regulators and any interested person. Technical committees are run by an elected chairperson and there is no financial or monetary gain for any member.
“The time it takes to develop and publish each standard varies, as every new or amended standard requires public participation. Technical committees take into account every comment or concern raised in the participation process, and in some cases further amendments and consultations with the public are required before a SANS can be concluded and published,” explains Sadhvir Bisson, divisional head of SABS standards.
Bisson attributes the record number of SANS published in 2021 to better-functioning technical committees and committed members, increased participation from regulators and government departments, and efficiencies from virtual platforms as well as within the SABS.
SANS evolve over the years to reflect technological and regulatory changes, and it is imperative that all organisations become familiar with, apply for and comply with these standards, as well as taking the next step to ensure that compliance is verified through an independent body.
Institutions that require assistance with identifying relevant SANS can contact the SABS. The bureau can also provide customised training to create awareness and understanding of the collection of standards pertaining to an organisation. SANS are available via the SABS webstore at https://store.sabs.co.za.
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