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The Connection - Step Three: Time to be a Leader in This Amazing Year of Progress
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Blue    Marvin Klein

The Connection™

Marvin's View
January 29, 2015 



Step Three: 

Time to be a Leader in This 

Amazing Year of Progress


We hope you found the Learn and Listen suggestions to be helpful.  So now we come to the third phase and most exciting opportunity.  


The program is to use your expertise and experience to contribute to the development of American National Standards (ANSI) for how work should be conducted.  There are ANSI Standards for almost every facet of work in industry...I did say almost because there are few American National Standards that are specific for the daily janitorial, custodial and housekeeping industries.  


After extensive debate and appeal, ANSI Standards sponsored by the Simon Institute will be developed for our industry. If it is important for manufacturing, fire safety, and electrical engineering then it is certainly fundamental for protecting your company's  investment in property and the health of everyone who uses your facility.


I asked our Education Director, Mark Samios to review the development of American National Standards for our industry and Ben Walker of the Simon Institure, who has been one of the driving forces in this movement, to explain how we can all participate.





Mark Samios
Mark Samios

The cleaning industry has been developing standards of performance since its very inception.  Early on, most of our standards were about telling people what was not clean.  A sticky floor, the white glove test, were easy ways to indicate that the cleaning did not measure up to expected standards. 


As our industry has matured, specific user groups have set performance standards that have enhanced the overall performance of our industry in defining cleaning standards.  The NEHA/IEHA was an early adopter of standards particularly in the health care field, and many of their standards became generally accepted by the entire industry.  


As our industry progressed, and we did a better job of influencing the consumers, not only did our standards become better defined, but we also began to see the regulation of our industry by State and local boards of health, the EPA and OSHA. 


Most recently, the cleaning industry has grown with the green movement and the standards set by organizations such as Green Seal and its promotion of a Nationally accepted, industry leading, chemical safety and environmental standard.  The idea of a national standard may be a new idea to our industry, but it certainly isn't new to the rest of the world.  Organizations like ISO, IEC, ISO/IEC JTC 1, have taken standards to a whole new level.  The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the standard setting organization for the United States.  


Our industry was led in the development of ANSI standards by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning Restoration Certification (IICRC) beginning in 1972.  A second group, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI0) began nearly 20 years ago to develop floor safety standards that have just recently gained broad based acceptance in our industry. 


Today there is an opportunity for all of us to participate in the development of broad based standards for our industry.  The Simon Institute, an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer (ASD) of custodial, janitorial and housekeeping standards, has begun work on two new standards.  


The first is the development of a standard language for our industry.  Those of you who are familiar with the OSHA Right to Know Law or the Green Seal Accreditation process  recognize that they each contain a Glossary of terms to make sure that we all understand what is being said and that we communicate in a uniform manner.  A uniform professional language for any industry is essential and the cleaning industry would certainly benefit.  


The second standard under development is a Cleaning Chemical Handlers Permit.  Like the Food Handlers Permit, it would provide a basic understanding of chemical safety for employees before they enter our industry.  Although the Right to Know and Understand laws promulgated by OSHA and enhanced under the move toward the Globally Harmonized System defines requirements it does not have the attached documented certification of a potential employees understanding of chemical safety.







Ben Walker
Ben Walker

On March 18, 2014 the Simon Institute (SI) was accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an official Standards Developing Organization (SDO). This followed a rigorous application process including a period of Open Comment and a thorough review of the SI application by ANSI's staff and executive committee.


ANSI is a non-profit, privately funded membership organization that coordinates the development of U.S. voluntary national standards and is the U.S. member body to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) via the United States National Committee (USNC).


ANSI does not itself develop American National Standards; rather it facilitates development by providing the structure within which standards can be developed and consensus can be achieved. ANSI approval of these standards is intended to verify that the principles of openness and due process have been followed in the approval procedure and that a consensus of those directly and materially affected by the standards has been achieved. 


The voluntary standards system in the United States consists of a number of standards developers like  the Simon Institute, that write and maintain American National Standards. The ANSI review process ensures that its guiding principles -- consensus, due process and openness -- are followed by standards developers through the process of development.


One of the approved methods for standards development is the Canvass method. Using this method, SI, the accredited sponsor, conducts a canvass or mail poll of persons known to be directly or materially affected by the subject covered by the scope of the standard, in order to obtain evidence of consensus for approval of the standard as an American National Standard.


This is where you come into the picture. As part of the Canvass Process you are invited to participate in the development of standards that will improve the entire cleaning industry. The main focus of the standards will be safety, efficiency and professionalism.


Canvass Process


To understand the ANSI canvass process better, here is a brief description of what is involved in canvassing a potential ANSI Standard.

  • A pre-canvass list identifying those that are potentially interested in and affected by the proposed standard is compiled by a Simon Institute Standards Committee. Areas of interest are defined to accommodate the document being canvassed.
  • A pre-canvass survey is done soliciting participation.
  • A press release is issued announcing the intent to canvass inviting participation from those not originally identified by the Simon Institute Task Force.
  • ANSI announces canvass in Standards Action.

Canvass begins:

  • Negative ballots are reviewed by committee members.
  • Volunteer leader/Task Force responds in writing to all negatives.
  • Substantial changes to the proposed standard require recirculation to the complete canvass list.
  • Canvass participants must be advised of their right to appeal.
  • If any negatives cannot be resolved, the document, the negative ballot and all correspondence must be circulated to the complete canvass list for reconsideration. Any participant can change their vote.
  • Once balloting has closed, the document and necessary paperwork are submitted to ANSI with the ballot results.

You have the opportunity to influence the development of industry specific standards by actively participating and voting during the Canvass process. This input is vital to developing open standards for ANSI consideration.  The goal of the Simon Institute is to make sure that there is balance between the materially affected groups of end users, general interest and producers through a fair and open process.


The development of American National Standards for the custodial industry is a large undertaking.  The cleaning industry in the United States alone is estimated to be roughly $200 billion. I've seen estimates as high as 90% of that spending going toward labor.  To think that our industry is this large and that there are few ANSI standards that account for daily custodial work is, in a word, shocking. I'm excited to see where this goes in the next decade - it's ultimately up to us, the cleaning industry, to decide what we leave for the future of our profession.  






You can become a part of this standard development by submitting your contact information along with your request to be a "Canvassee" to the Simon Institute.  Help write the future of our industry, get involved. 


To participate as a Canvassee send an email with your name, organization, email address and phone number to Jim Ginnaty at  For more information about the Simon Institute go to





Well I did say 2015 was going to be an amazing year for our industry. I thank Mark and Ben for their hard work and contribution toward this goal.


We hope you followed the process of Learning, Listening and now Leading. Don't pass up this opportunity to use your expertise to bring our industry to a new level of professionalism and effectiveness.  


Sign up to help write the ANSI Standard for the industry we all love. You, your management, and your staff will be glad you did.

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