Here at Document Center Inc. we often get asked “What’s the difference between a national or regional adoption of an IEC standard and the original standard itself?” This is a tricky question, since IEC adoptions are not so clear as adoptions of ISO standards at all.
Many national standards are based on IEC documents. However, these standards may contain national deviations which is why the numbering schema for these adoptions is different than for the ISO standards. When an ISO standard is adopted, usually the number becomes the acronym for the country (or region), then the original ISO number complete. For example, the British adoption of ISO 10002 is BS ISO 10002. However the adoption of an IEC standard is just the jurisdiction acronym and the IEC numeric designation, as in IEC 60950-1 and UL 60950-1.
If you’ve done any traveling outside the U.S., you’ll know the wide array of plug adapters, transformers, etc., that you may require to make your electronic devices and appliances work from country to country. The fact that the IEC standards are based on electricity (after all, IEC is the International Electrotechnical Commission) is the reason that the standards often cannot be adopted “as is.”
These jurisdiction-specific deviations include the requirements of a country’s electrical code, conflicting national standards for product types or components, and different component requirements, like modified marking requirements. So a national standards-writing body may decide that the IEC standard can be adopted only by modifying, deleting, or adding requirements.
Determining the differences between the various adoptions of any given IEC standard can be challenging. So to help the user out, often the national adoption will specify in the forward or other area of the document what the specific modifications are.
So for our original IEC 60601-1, the many reprints of the standard all represent potential variations from the original material. Having said that, manufacturers need to design and test their products to the worst-case conditions of the tests that apply to their target markets.
Document Center advises customers to identify all target markets before the design phase is completed and review all IEC standards plus the national adoptions when applicable. Compliance is a critical issue for our customers and one that our wide range of services supports.
Find the standards you need on our website, www.document-center.com. Or contact us by phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Our expert staff can assist with a wide variety of questions and requirements to assure your organization of compliance in today’s competitive marketplace.