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Product Safety Certification: 5 Simple Steps to Compliance

For most markets, it is required for the manufacturer to obtain a product safety testing certification of electrical and electronic devices in order to be sold into that market. The United States has a federally mandated certification program for the safety of electrical products used in the workplace called Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). NRTL certification is acceptable proof of product safety intended for the workplace under OSHA jurisdiction and in many other states, county and municipal jurisdictions throughout the US. We're happy to share that the Nemko mark is recognized by all distributors and big box retailers around the world as described in this brochure

Nemko has a 5-step process to obtaining the proper product safety certification.

1. Electrical Safety Design/Constructional Review

The purpose of this design review is to provide gap analysis and overall guidance against the regulations - avoiding redesign prior to testing - ultimately saves time and money. 

2. Product Safety Testing

The purpose of testing is to confirm that safety hazards do not exist during normal operation and single fault conditions. A test plan based on how the product will be used in the field will guide Nemko in selecting test conditions and test parameters for each test and each product variation to be tested.

3. Project Review

Based on the construction review and testing, one of two different reports may be generated by Nemko.

Findings Report - if a product is deemed non-compliant in construction features or test results, the engineer provides a report that summarizes the issues.

Certification (Descriptive) Report - if the product is found compliant during the testing, the engineer drafts a report that will be used to document the certification for ongoing factory inspection purposes. The manufacturer should review this draft as ongoing inspections rely on this report.

The draft of the certification report and sample are reviewed by certification department personnel who will determine that the product in fact complies with the safety standards and that the product was tested adequately.

4. Factory Inspection

Ongoing inspection of production facilities is performed to verify the production per applicable safety standards. Samples of certified product will be inspected along with records relating to the production process. During this inspection, Nemko is looking to ensure that the product is being manufactured as certified and that policies and procedures related to the production are being followed.

5. Report and Certificate Issued

After the draft has been reviewed and approved by all engineers, Nemko will issue the Certification (Descriptive) Report and Certificate of Compliance. The certification is posted to Nemko’s publicly available listing directory as evidence of valid certification.

   

What can you, as the manufacturer, do to help the product safety certification process go easier?

When electrical and electronic devices have many different configurations available, which can have circuits that are considered hazardous from a safety perspective, it complicates the product safety certification process. Manufacturers can help with this complex process by working with the engineers to determine possible configurations for testing, which will involve experimentation.

Here are some tips that will be helpful in obtaining your product safety approval more effectively:

  • Engage early with Nemko as your regulatory partner
  • Understand the applicable standard
  • Design the product to comply with the standard from product inception
  • Consider having Nemko conduct an initial inspection of the design

 

For more information, please feel free to contact us at info@nemko.com.

 

Download On-Demand NRTL Webinar

 

Written by Stuart Beck
Stuart is located in Nemko’s Ottawa office and is responsible for Nemko’s Product Certification services. A graduate of Loughborough University in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, he has spent his career of over 28+ years in compliance testing and certification with specialization in telecommunications products and technologies. During this time, he has overseen the growth of Nemko’s North American certification services, including its Telecommunications Certification Body (TCB) and its electrical safety services via its NRTL program.

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