Whirlwind is hosting the International Organization for Standards – ISO – (wheelchairs) Working Group Meetings from June 3 throug June 7, 2013 at San Francisco State University. The Working Groups comprise representatives of industry and consumer groups who work to develop and design manufacturing standards for manual and power wheelchairs.
This year’s meeting is historic in that, for the first time, the ISO wheelchair meetings will include a day dedicated to advancing ISO wheelchair standards in developing countries. Experts in wheelchair provision in developing countries are aware, for example, that some of the current ISO standards are not stringent enough so that some chairs that pass the ISO tests still fail in day-to-day use in the developing world. Some developing world experts feel that there is a need for additional or alternate tests and/or modifications to existing ISO test methods. Appropriate standards combined with formal testing and widespread dissemination of results would go a long way to improve the quality of wheelchairs provided in developing countries and could help governments adopt appropriate national wheelchair standards.
On June 5, ISO working group members will meet with members of nearly a dozen organizations that work in the developing world. The ultimate goal is to establish an official Working Group within ISO to develop standards appropriate for wheelchairs that will be used in the generally rougher environments of developing countries.