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Health & Safety Glossary

ASTM Standards

ASTM standards guide product quality, safety, and performance across various industries globally.


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What are ASTM Standards?

The American Society for Testing and Materials, or ASTM International, is a society that consists of more than 30,000 members from around the globe. It includes academics, consultants, consumers, producers and general users. 

ASTM International is primarily a developer of consensus standards that can be voluntarily adopted by different industries. The ASTM Standards are a set of voluntary international standards that are frequently cited and referred to, as well as incorporated into international regulations and codes. 

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What is the Importance of ASTM Standards?

ASTM International develops and publishes standards for a variety of different industries, with the overarching aim of improving performance and safety as a whole. 

Each ASTM standard has its own unique number, and each of these standards generally fall into different categories, such as:

  • Standard Practice Guide
  • Standard Test Method
  • Terminology Standard
  • Standard Classification
  • Standard Specification

Apart from creating standards, ASTM International is also responsible for creating technical training programs and for running proficiency tests. The organization also focuses on continuing education and training programs, offering courses on different materials, such as coal, glass, or plastics. 


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What is the Annual Book of ASTM Standards?

ASTM International also publishes Annual Book of ASTM Standards. This book offers technical standards that focuses on different products, industries, and services, including, but not limited to:

  • Adhesives
  • Non-ferrous metals
  • Rubber
  • Plastics
  • Electronics and electrical insulation
  • Textiles
  • Construction
  • Steel and iron
  • Nuclear energy
  • Solar energy
  • Medical devices

Owing to the broad scope of the ASTM Standards, they’re divided into different volumes. In total, 143 committees are formed to write and prepare the standards which go in the Annual Book. 

These guidelines are developed in line with the guidelines and instructions provided by the World Trade Organization

Is It Necessary to Comply with ASTM Standards?

As mentioned above, compliance with ASTM Standards is not mandatory. These are voluntary standards that are designed to be adopted by numerous industries as covered by the manual. But, many industries adopt these standards. 

In certain situations, however, compliance with ASTM Standards is mandatory. For instance, all toys sold in the United States must comply with ASTM F-963

Types of ASTM Standards

There are different types of ASTM Standards that you should know about, such as:

ASTM Standards for Test Methods

Test method standards provide informative descriptions of conducting tests and procedures to determine the properties of a material, a group of materials, or a manufactured product. 

These standards provide information about test apparatus, specimens, procedures, and any calculations to be conducted during testing.

ASTM Specification Standards

Specification standards provide comprehensive conditions and provisions that a product, a system, or service is required to meet. They also identify different methods of testing that are suitable for testing the criteria. 

ASTM Guide Standards

Guide standards provide different instructions, but don’t recommend a specific course of action. Depending on individual circumstances, the user is then capable of selecting the best option based on instructions. 

ASTM Practice Standards

Practice standards are designed to provide specific, tailored instructions for performing different operations or tasks. 

ASTM Classification Standards

Classification standards provide the requirements for assigning different materials, services, or systems into various groups. These requirements may relate to the origin, the physical properties, or the chemical properties of the product itself. 

ASTM Terminology Standards

Terminology standards provide details about acronyms, abbreviations, or symbols that are commonly used in a particular line of business, including different industries. Since chemicals often have different names, there are specific standards that detail common names that scientists can use. 

The Importance of ASTM Standards

Many industries use ASTM Standards because they provide the best possible guidance or scenarios on how to deal with different materials or products. ASTM Standards also provide procedures or standardized approaches for different services too. 

As a result, many organizations prefer following ASTM Standards because it not only improves the company’s image, but they also provide workers with the best safety procedures and methods for handling different materials. 


Improve the safety culture within your organisation

Our FREE guide Safety Culture - How to engage your workforce will help you implement a positive safety culture in the workplace.



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EcoOnline’s Health & Safety Software makes it easy for organizations to update and categorize different ASTM Standards. It allows companies to add different modules to identify elements of risk and to take steps to mitigate it in the workplace.