Nearly 30 years ago OSHA established the regulations for the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program to ensure equipment and components could be tested and certified for their safe use in the workplace. A NTRL is a private-sector organization that consistently meets the OSHA legal requirements, in 29 CFR 1910.7, to perform testing and certification of products using consensus based test standards. For manufacturers and vendors, this certification process can be daunting and increase expenses, but the benefits that third part certification are numerous.
Third party certifications provided by OSHA's Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) Program provide five strategic advantages:
1. Truly Independent Product Review: Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories have no financial interest in the products they might certify so product safety review is objective, free of either internal company pressures or economic demands.
2. Increase Safety & Reliability: Companies submitting products for NRTL certifications typically use safety engineers as opposed to design engineers frequently resulting in more reliable products that comply with safety, health or environmental standards. Consistency is also a factor given frequent audits of a manufacturers facility prior to third party certification that ensure the manufacturer is capable of meeting the specified requirements.
3. Instill Consumer Confidence and Increased Sales: Products that are visibly certified by a NRTL tend to see greater sales volume as consumers have a higher degree of confidence in products that are scrutinized, surveiled and continuously verified by that laboratory, even after that product reaches the marketplace.
4. Point of Distinction for Manufacturer: Certification quickly distinguishes compliant manufacturers from those attempting to reduce costs and commodify their products. Beyond increasing consumer confidence, third party certification ensures that all correct components are utilized.
5. Product Liability Defense: Within a court of law, a common standard used to determine liability is whether the manufacturer exercised an appropriate level of concern and care in producing a product. The products that maintain third party certifications demonstrate a manufacturer used the highest degree of care available to ensure safe and effective marketplace products.
To learn more about the value of NRTL approvals, be sure to review our latest Application Bulletin titled "Are Products with Agency Approvals Worth More?".