SABS, SANS & ISO explained.
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SABS, SANS & ISO explained.

Have you ever been confused and puzzled by the acronyms SABS & SANS? In what way do they differ and is there even a difference between the two?

SANS stands for South African National Standards and SABS stands for The South African Bureau of Standards.

It is therefore incorrect to refer to the SABS as a standard. This is because it is a testing and certification body who is allowed to sample and test products. They certify a producer's product to a specific SANS standard, through the SANS accreditation.

The standards and quality of all commodities and services available in South Africa are promoted and maintained by the SABS. They are responsible for regulating the quality of South African goods and services.

SABS maintains a database of 6,500 national standards, and as part of its mandate, it develops new standards, reviews and amends existing standards, and withdraws existing standards as needed.

Now what is a standard?

A standard is a published document that contains technical specifications and criteria designed to be used consistently as a rule, guideline, or definition. Standards are used to increase the quality, reliability and effectiveness of many goods and services we use. They also give consumers more choice and enable them to access these goods and services more easily.

The SABS is mostly involved in commercial certification, testing, and consignment inspections. They also award the SABS Mark of Approval, which is an internationally recognized symbol in South Africa that assures buyers that the products it certifies are safe and fit for its purpose.

Together with ISO, the International Organization of Standardization, SABS experts also contribute to the development of international standards.

ISO officially began operations on 23 February 1947. Business, government, and society require international standards, and ISO identifies them, develops them with partners in the sectors that will use them, adopts them through transparent procedures based on national input, and delivers them to be implemented worldwide.

With 15 036 standards in its portfolio, ISO provides practical solutions for almost every sector of business, industry, and technology.

Several countries have adopted ISO standards as part of their regulatory framework. It is a sovereign decision made by the regulatory authorities or governments of the countries concerned to adopt such regulations.

 An estimated 50 000 experts contribute to the organizations work annually. Upon publication as an ISO international standard, their work may be adopted and translated as a national standard by ISO members.

The SABS is South Africa’s ISO member & representative.

As Ian Veldman from the the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research said: “If there were no standards, we would soon notice standards make an enormous contribution to most aspects of our lives – although very often, that contribution goes unnoticed”.  - The International Organisation for Standardisation - what it's all about/ / /

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