OSHA Issues Workplace Electrical Product Safety RFI

OSHA recently announced that a proposed Request for Information (RFI) related to its Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program will be published in the Oct. 20, 2008 Federal Register. A copy of the proposed RFI currently is available on OSHA's Web site. The public comment period on the RFI will close on Jan. 20, 2009.

The RFI requests comment on a proposal submitted to the United States by the European Commission (EC) to permit the use of a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) as an alternative to OSHA's NRTL product-approval process for certain electrical and other products used in the workplace. EC made its proposal through the Transatlantic Economic Council, which was established by an agreement between the United States and the European Union signed in April 2007.

"This RFI will allow all stakeholders the opportunity to provide evidence to help OSHA better evaluate the EU's SDoC system and determine whether or not an SDoC system meets the safety requirements for the Occupational Safety and Health Act," said Edwin G. Foulke Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA.

NRTLs are independent laboratories that have met OSHA's requirements for performing safety testing and certification of electrical and other products used in the workplace. NRTLs test and certify these products to determine whether they conform to appropriate U.S. product-safety testing standards. In contrast, an SDoC is a written statement, produced by an equipment manufacturer or supplier, that a product meets or conforms to a specified test standard or a set of requirements.

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