To customers, distributors, and retailers, a certification mark means that they are purchasing a product that has been evaluated by an accredited independent organization. This third-party certification for electrical and power products means that a qualified independent testing laboratory has reviewed the manufacturing process of the particular product and has concluded that the final product complies with specific safety standards.
The electrical standards that are used within these certifications vary throughout the world. For the U.S., the requirement for certifications depend on the geographic market, intended market (industrial, commercial, or household), and type of product.
Within the U.S. electrical industry, the standards most commonly referred are those developed by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., also known as UL. However, this is just one of the many Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs). These entities are independent laboratories that provide an evaluation, testing and certification process of any product to applicable safety standards.
The advantages of third-party certifications work to get you a better product to suit your needs.
Manufacturers have a choice of which OSHA approved NRTLs to use to provide certification services and labeling. NRTLs in the U.S. are UL and ETL (issued by the ETL SEMKO division of Intertek) listings. Products that have UL or ETL labels have met the minimum requirements of safety standards as proven by the independent testing of the NRTL. The product manufacturer also must agree to periodic follow-up inspections to verify continual compliance.
Third-party certifications, such as UL and ETL, offer customers the following advantages:
- Confidence—Certification by an independent third-party conveys impartial judgment based on a level of secure specification. You can be sure that these experts are allowing you to purchase a product that is truly up to par.
- Safety—Compliance with applicable National Electrical Code requirements assures the proper installation and application of the product, and therefore reduces the risk of potential user injury.
- Quality—The mark of a third-party certification means there is a higher degree of reliability, consequently increasing the quality of the product.
- Lead time—Because the independent laboratory specializes in testing, the time it takes to complete the manufacturing process is substantially shortened. This means you get a more credible product, sooner.
The advantages of third-party certifications work to get you a better product to suit your needs. While cost can sometimes be a deterrent, an assessment of benefits should be made on each product to determine how third-party certification can work in your favor.
What other advantages have you discovered in third-party certifications? Let us know in the comments below!