ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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OSHA and ACIL Unite Behind the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory Program

New York, Jul 30, 2003

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American Council of Independent Laboratories (ACIL) have united to promote, communicate, educate and train stakeholders about the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program. Through this alliance, the two organizations will promote a national dialogue on workplace safety and health that occurs through quality testing of much of the equipment and materials workers use every day.

As part of OSHA’s Directorate of Science, Technology, and Medicine, the NRTL program recognizes private sector organizations as having met the necessary qualifications specified in OSHA regulations. An NRTL determines that specific equipment and materials meet consensus-based standards of safety to provide the assurance that these products are safe for use in the U.S. workplace. OSHA can then accept products "properly certified" by the NRTL during the workplace inspections performed by OSHA compliance officers. While this acceptance does not necessarily mean the product is "OSHA-approved," it does signify that an NRTL has tested and certified the product for conformance to a specific product safety test standard.

An NTRL meets the OSHA requirements that cover its capability, control programs, complete independence, and reporting and complaint handling procedures to test and certify specific equipment and materials for workplace safety. Thus, NRTLs must have the necessary capability both as a product safety-testing laboratory and as a product certification body. Several ANSI members are NRTLs, including CSA International, Inc., FM Global Technologies LLC, Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc., NSF International, and Underwriters Laboratories.

These private sector organizations provide product safety testing and certification services to manufacturers. The testing and certification are done to U.S. consensus-based product safety test standards.

“Voluntary standards help the government fulfill its mandate to ensure worker safety and health,” said Lane Hallenbeck, ANSI vice president, conformity assessment. “OSHA’s NRTL program and the consensus standards the organizations rely on are an example of a vital public-private partnership.”

ANSI completed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with OSHA in early 2001. The purpose of the cooperative effort of the MoU is to bring the technical resources and support of ANSI to assist OSHA in carrying out its responsibilities and to support continued U.S. competitiveness, economic growth, safety, and health.

In the alliance with the ACIL, OSHA plans to educate and train stakeholders about the NRTL program, and conduct a review of existing OSHA training programs to determine where information on the NRTL program can be incorporated into the curriculum. OSHA personnel will also be cross-trained with industry safety and health professionals on the NRTL program and the products and equipment required to have a mark. The initial term of the alliance is two years.

ACIL is an ANSI member that represents independent, commercial scientific and engineering firms. Its members are professional services firms engaged in testing, product certification, consulting, and research and development.

Congress created OSHA under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which was signed by President Richard M. Nixon on December 29, 1970. OSHA's mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Since the agency was created in 1971, occupational deaths have been cut by 62% and injuries have declined by 42%.

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