Last week the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB) that stresses the importance of using electrical and other equipment certified by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) in workplaces. Quoting from OSHA's "Quick Takes" for the month of May,
"OSHA's new Safety and Health Information Bulletin warns that workers may be exposed to serious hazards such as electrocution, burns, fires and explosions when using products that have not been tested or approved by an OSHA-certified testing laboratory. "Certification of Workplace Products by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories" informs employers about the harm they can cause workers by having them use non-NRTL-tested products and employers' obligation not to let that happen. OSHA established the NRTL Program in 1988 to oversee OSHA's procedures for approving organizations as qualified testing laboratories. Examples of products certified by NRTLs include electrical equipment, automatic sprinkler systems, portable fire extinguishers and alarm systems. NRTLs authorize manufacturers to place registered certification marks on products after they have met OSHA's safety standards."
OSHA should be applauded for reaffirming the importance of third-party certification for products and equipment used in the workplace and elsewhere. OSHA should take this one step further by firmly and definitively denying the request of European petitioners to use Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) in lieu of third-party certification for electrical products and equipment.