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NIST April Workshop to Examine Federal Conformity Assessment Practices

From NIST Tech Beat: March 20, 2012

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Contact: Jennifer Huergo
301-975-6343

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is hosting a free public workshop on best practices in federal conformity assessment activities Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at NIST’s Gaithersburg, Md., site. “Conformity assessment” determines whether a process, product or service meets standards and requirements, and the process has important consequences. Federal conformity assessments impact the regulatory process, international trade, procurement and federal assistance programs.

The “Energy Star” program that directs consumers to energy efficient appliances is one familiar example of a voluntary conformity assessment program supported by a federal agency. Other federal conformity assessment programs provide confidence in the safety of electrical equipment used in regulated workplaces in the United States.

The NIST workshop is being held to examine current approaches to conformity assessment at federal agencies and in the private sector. It will provide a forum for federal agencies, private industry and other stakeholders to give feedback to NIST on conformity assessment practices, the challenges encountered and the ways these challenges are being addressed.

The workshop will include panel discussions on the breadth of conformity assessments in the federal arena, and examine case studies and international conformity assessment. Workshop attendees also will be asked to provide comments related to a planned update of the Guidance on Federal Conformity Assessment Activities (15 C.R.F. Part 287).

NIST is required under the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act to coordinate federal, state and local standards activities and conformity assessment activities with the private sector with the goal of eliminating unnecessary duplication and complexity.

For more information on the workshop and to register, see www.nist.gov/director/sco/ca-workshop-2012.cfm.