OSHA Rejects EU SDoC System, Affirms NRTL Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced Friday that it will continue to require third-party certification via the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program for electrical products.

The European Union requested that OSHA explore the possibility of adopting its system, known as Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC). Under the EU system, manufacturers declare that their products meet safety requirements before placing these products on the market, requiring EU governments to operate a post-market surveillance system to verify whether products are safety compliant.

In 2008, in response to the EU’s request for the U.S. to adopt an SDoC system, OSHA issued a request for information (RFI). After reviewing 63 RFI comments and independently studying the matter, OSHA declined to alter its existing system.

OSHA offered a few reasons for sticking with the NRTL product safety system:

  • The SDoC system is no more protective of electrical product users, and may be less
  • The cost of administering a SDoC system is likely not compatible with OSHA’s current budget
  • The lack of explicit legislative authority to implement the enforcement powers required for an effective SDoC system, including issuing product recalls and bans, assessing fines, and imposing criminal penalties

Read more about the history of the NRTL program in MET Labs’ product safety FAQ.

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