1. Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL’s)
In an effort to provide the market with products that are reliable and safe for use by the consumer, manufacturers routinely submit their products for testing to prove they comply with published OSHA safety standards. This testing is done by OSHA certified Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL’s) throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries. The successful completion of the product testing allows the product to carry a mark indicating it meets these safety standards. The most recognizable of these are UL (Underwriters Laboratory), CUL (Canadian Underwriters Laboratory), and CE from the European Union.
The process for testing products for compliance to the OSHA standards is both a costly and time consuming one for manufacturers involving product submission for initial review, report of initial evaluation and required modifications for compliance, and resubmission for testing after modifications have been made. Due to high demand, the waiting time for this process using Underwriters Laboratory may take eighteen months or more. In reality, this testing may be completed in a much shorter time by any of the hundreds of other NRTL’s and be certified as compliant with the same OSHA standards but would be carry a mark of that Laboratory. They would carry a name such as:
• TÜV SÜD America, Inc. (TUVAM)
• Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc. (ITSNA) (formerly ETL)
• Canadian Standards Association (CSA)
• SGS U.S. Testing Company, Inc. (SGSUS)
rather than the UL mark of the Underwriters Laboratory or the CUL mark of the Canadian Underwriters Laboratory that we as consumers are most familiar with.