ABOUT NRTL Certification
A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) is an independent organization that certifies products for the U.S. market. NRTLs are recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under Federal Code 29 CFR 1910.7 for products to be used in United States workplaces.
The NRTL certificate provides clear evidence that your electrical and electronic products comply with the required standards of the U.S. market. By providing assurance that your products meet the safety requirements to enter the United States, NRTL certification enables you to reach hundreds of millions of consumers fast.
NRTL Certification cost is small when you realize that many retailers will refuse to stock a product without certification. If you cannot provide evidence you have carried out relevant tests yourself, you may receive a fine.
An Accredited NRTL Certification Provider
TÜV SÜD is one of the world’s largest providers of testing and certification services, with a strong reputation for independence and impartiality.
We are an accredited NRTL certification provider and offer a personalized one-stop solution designed to meet your requirements and market standards.
Our experts are active in national and international technical committees for safety. This makes us well suited to provide you with a valuable understanding of the latest standards and regulations, so that you can keep ahead of the competition.
While each client is different, we take you through a tried and tested 5-step process for NRTL certification:
Factory inspection and initial manufacturing quality program assessment by our independent experts
- We conduct product and safety testing
- A technical certifier reviews the safety testing report
- If the product has passed all relevant tests, the technical certifier issues the certificate
- Regular factory surveillance visits are conducted to maintain the credibility of the certificate
Our Services for NRTL certification
- Updating technical requirements – TÜV SÜD America provides information on new technical requirements. If a standard is expiring, we help you update the certificate with accreditation to the new standard.
- One-stop testing solutions – we provide services such as electrical safety testing, performance testing, EMC testing, CB-test reports and certificates, field labeling services for unlabeled (red tagged) equipment, covering all your testing needs with our comprehensive approach.
What is an NRTL?
A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) is an independent laboratory recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to test products to applicable product safety standards. An NRTL's function is to provide independent testing and certification of devices that may pose a risk to the user. TÜV SÜD America and Canada are NRTL's.
True or False; NRTLs are Government Agencies.
FALSE. Many in the U.S. believe that OSHA testing facilities or other government agencies conduct the testing and certification of products and equipment for use in the workplace. This is false. The fact is that this testing is done by independent third-party testing and certification organizations. OSHA only operates the program that "recognizes" these independent third-party organizations.
Why Does the NRTL Program Exist?
The NRTL Program is run by OSHA to ensure that products are safe for use by US workers. OSHA's recognition of an NRTL confirms the organization's ability to perform product safety testing and certification within a preapproved scope.
True or False; OSHA Dictates to Manufacturers Which NRTL They Must Use.
FALSE. While OSHA "recognizes" organizations as NRTLs under 29 CFR 1910.7, it does not dictate to manufacturers which NRTL they must use. In fact the opposite is true. OSHA "recognizes" multiple organizations as NRTLs to create a competitive environment so that the manufacturers have a choice of which NRTL they utilize. Manufacturers can choose any NRTL, with the appropriate "scope", to show compliance with US, UL, ANSI and other OSHA recognized standards. OSHA considers all NRTLs recognized under 29 CFR 1910.7 to be equivalent in their "capability" to certify to the standards in their scope of recognition. OSHA does not dictate to manufacturers which NRTL they must use.
Are NRTLs Recognized in Canada?
Not automatically, but TÜV SÜD is recognized in both markets. In Canada, a similar and largely equivalent program is in place although the regulatory jurisdiction is at provincial and territorial level. Regulators accept accreditation via the SCC (Standards Council of Canada)
as a means for electrical products to be certified for the Canadian market.
What Products Require NRTL Approval? And Why?
OSHA safety standards are part of US law and specify requirements for "approval" (i.e., testing and certification) of certain products by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). The original intent of these requirements was the safety of workers, but market forces and fear of litigation have moved safety certification into the mainstream for all electrical devices used or sold in the US. Mass produced products can be Certified while unique systems or installations may be approved via an on-site Field Evaluation.
The OSHA Product Catalog can be found here: http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/prodcatg.html
Beyond mandatory approval of products used in the US workplace, NRTL approval is “market driven”, meaning that any electrical device that will be sold or distributed in the US will need an NRTL approval for open acceptance in the marketplace. Without NRTL approval most retailers will not distribute a product.
In Canada, all electrical devices that connect to the electricity supply must be approved by law. Approval can be via formal certification or field evaluation (special inspection). This is documented in the Provincial and Territorial Electrical Codes that reference the Canadian Electrical Code.
Will Retailers Accept the TÜV SÜD Mark?
Yes. All NRTLs must follow the same rules in support of common acceptance. Under OSHA’s NRTL program TÜV SÜD certification includes the same testing, listing, labeling, and follow-up inspection services as competing certification marks (such as UL, ETL, CSA, and others). TÜV SÜD also works closely with Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) county and local inspectors or regulators to ensure acceptance.
Is the TÜV SÜD Mark Better than UL, ETL, or CSA Marks?
The marks are just symbols of adherence to the certification requirements. The difference is in the quality of the organization delivering that certification mark. TÜV SÜD can provide you with fast responses and quality service at a competitive price.
What Products Can TÜV SÜD Provide?
We are qualified to a specific scope of standards covering a very wide variety of products. If you are not sure what standard is appropriate to your device, as this can often be confusing, contact us
for free guidance.
Are Factory Inspections Mandatory for the TÜV SÜD NRTL Safety Mark?
Yes. Per OSHA, all NRTLs shall perform ongoing audits of production.
True or False; Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Commonly Known as UL, is a Government Agency.
FALSE. Many in the U.S. believe this to be true. In fact, UL is a private, non-profit organization and not a government agency. UL is recognized as an NRTL by OSHA under 29 CFR 1910.7 and has exactly the same status as the 18 NRTLs recognized by OSHA under the NRTL Program.
Since UL Writes the Safety Standards, Do Products Require UL?
No. While UL participates in standards development along with many other parties, a manufacturer can choose any of the NRTLs recognized by OSHA such as TÜV SÜD. UL operates two unique entities, one being an NRTL capable of issuing a US product certification much like all other NRTLs, and a second independent body focused on standards development.
Can We Switch From UL to TÜV SÜD?
Yes. The process of moving a customer’s existing files from one NRTL to another is called a “Rollover." Pricing for a rollover is unique per customer based on the number of products and what existing test data they have available.