NFPA Revises Standards Development Process
Effective for standards reporting in the Fall 2013 revision cycle are significant changes that include a new website to be the centralized entry point for participants in the process and also a single comment stage.
The National Fire Protection Association is changing its process for developing standards to streamline it and to embrace new technology. There are significant changes taking effect for standards reporting in the Fall 2013 revision cycle that will be relevant to many safety professionals because NFPA is the source of most core fire safety standards and codes used nationwide and beyond.
NFPA is responsible for 300 such codes and standards, including the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101), the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace (NFPA 70E), the Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems (NFPA 13), the Standard for Health Care Facilities (NFPA 99), the Hazardous Materials Code (NFPA 400), and the Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids (NFPA 654). The agency's standards development website says its more than 200 committees developing codes and standards include than 6,000 volunteer positions.
NFPA's summary of the changes it is making says a new online NFPA Standards Development Site is being created that will be the centralized entry point for participants in the development process. This site will be used for submission of all public proposals and for the publication of Technical Committee Reports and other information. The summary says the public review and comment period of the process is being consolidated into a single Comment Stage, and objections to a first draft of a standard must be submitted during this stage. Doing this will ease the workload of the developing committee, the association says in the summary, adding, "Moreover, it is expected that many, if not most, issues raised during the Input Stage will be satisfactorily addressed by the Committee in the First Draft so that formal Committee Action on Comments at the Comment Stage will be limited to only those issues that genuinely remain in contention."
Software development, testing, pilot projects, and training for the new process will be taking place this year, and the training will continue during 2012, according to the summary.