Safety in the Field, Safety in the Lab
Best practices usually exceed what is defined in regulatory requirements. Obtaining safety certification is an important step in the product cycle for this reason. It demonstrates a commitment to the safety and quality of the product. Regarding product safety testing, there is a choice in testing partners to conduct the certification review. The following blog entry explores the what and why of safety certification.
A safety standard’s origin story:
Safety standards are developed by such institutions as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and others. These groups develop and publish their own standards, which gain recognition in one of two ways. A standard might become a government’s regulatory requirement, or a standard might gain popularity from the private sector. As more customers demand a specific standard, more manufacturers and OEMs will seek it for the products they produce.
Compliance versus certification:
In a similar spirit as the phrase “correlation does not equal causality”, note that compliance is not the same as certification. A compliant product might indeed meet a given safety standard, but this a self-reported state. There is no 3rd party oversight to agree or disagree with a manufacturer’s statement of compliance. To gain a certification of a given safety standard, the product must undergo certification testing and this testing must be performed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). The NRTL is the 3rd party and its function is to test and certify whether a product meets the given standard. The NRTL is disinterested in the outcome of the testing; its commercial reputation relies on the quality and impartiality of its work.
Who is a NRTL?
A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) is qualified as such by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The NRTL Program is part of OSHA’s directive to ensure products are safe for use in the U.S. workplace. It has a say over which private-sector organizations are recognized as capable of determining whether a product meets the safety standard developed by ANSI, etc. In Canada, a similar group called the Standards Council of Canada is tasked with granting accreditation to Testing Organization and Certification Bodies (akin to NRTLs in the U.S.).
Safety certification for TECA products:
Air Conditioners: All versions of our two most popular product families (AHP-1200-Series and AHP-1800-Series) are ETL listed (Intertek) to UL & CSA safety standards. This includes our new certification status for the 24 vdc & 48 vdc input variations of these products. These TECA coolers are ideal for the thermal management of electronics enclosures.
Cold/Hot Plates: The AHP-301CPV, the AHP-1200CPV (includes ERGO-900), the AHP-1200CAS, and the AHP-1800CPV are certified to UL & CSA safety standards. Our cold plate products offer precise, reliable temperature testing on your bench top. Ideal for components testing and laboratory work, these TECA products are versatile. Temperature-control communications software is included. Optional customizations and accessories are available.
The take-away on safety standards:
Regarding product safety testing, there is a choice in NRTL testing partners to conduct the certification review. Choosing an OSHA-qualified or Standards Council of Canada-accredited laboratory to test products will ensure a valid determination for safety certification. Seeking those safety standards which are most in demand will satisfy current customers, help attract new customers, and help make a strong statement about the products’ quality and the manufacturer’s commitment to safety.
TECA partners with Intertek to provide our products with the ETL Listed Mark. The ETL Listed Mark is the legal equivalent to the UL and CSA Listed Marks. A product bearing the ETL Listed Mark is determined to have met the minimum requirements of prescribed product safety standards. Intertek is an OSHA-qualified NRTL. Intertek is also accredited by the Standards Council of Canada as an accredited Testing Organization and Certification Body.