Archive for January, 2012

EPA Announces Final Criteria for ENERGY STAR Most Efficient

by on Jan.31, 2012, under ENERGY STAR

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the final 2012 recognition criteria for its ENERGY STAR “Most Efficient” designation, which recognizes products with exceptional efficiency performance.

In the second year of this pilot effort, eight product categories will be eligible for recognition:

  • Air-source heat pumps
  • Boilers
  • Central air conditioners
  • Clothes washers
  • Furnaces
  • Geothermal heat pumps
  • Refrigerator-freezers
  • Televisions

The Most Efficient designation may be used in retail displays or web pages, but not on products or product packaging. See the full usage guidelines.

The 2012 recognition criteria for ENERGY STAR’s Most Efficient are summarized here.

In addition to meeting these performance requirements, products must be certified as ENERGY STAR by an EPA-recognized certification body, like MET Labs.  

Find out more about requirements, cost, and lead time for ENERGY STAR testing and certification.

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Product Safety Compliance Engineers Use These Resources

by on Jan.19, 2012, under Product Safety

Over the years, we at MET Labs have compiled dozens of web links for keeping current with product safety regulations and industry happenings.  Following are some of the most valuable.

Stay tuned – Up soon is a corresponding post on EMC compliance resources.

Standards & Schemes
CB Scheme  The international certification program managed by the IECEE, with over 60 countries participating.
IEC  The International Electrotechnical Commission publishes consensus-based International Standards and manages conformity assessment systems for electric and electronic products.
CENELEC  The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization.  It creates voluntary European electrotechnical standards (ENs).
UL Catalog of Standards  UL has developed more than 1,000 standards for safety.
CSA Standards  Canadian Standards Association Online Store.
BSI Standards  The UK’s National Standards Body (NSB) and was the world’s first.
Standards Australia  Australia non-government standards body.
Standards New Zealand  New Zealand’s leading developer and publisher of standards.
ANSI  American National Standards Institute is the voice of the U.S. standards and conformity assessment system.
IHS Standards  Has a wide variety of standards available for purchase.
NFPA Codes & Standards  National Fire Protection Association has developed more than 300 consensus codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks.  Publishes NEC.

U.S. OSHA NRTL Program  OSHA is responsible for managing the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory Program for U.S. product safety certification.
U.S. CPSC  U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products.
U.S. MSHA  Mine Safety and Health Administration works to prevent death, disease, and injury from mining in the U.S.
U.S. Laser Safety Regulations  The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations outlines U.S. laser safety requirements.
Standards Council of Canada  The SCC is responsible for accrediting certification bodies for the Canadian market.
EU Directives  Includes links to harmonized standards references.
RAPEX  The EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products, with the exception of food, pharmaceutical and medical devices.
CNCA  Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Certification and Accreditation and Applying China Compulsory Certification (CCC) Mark
RRA  National Radio Research Agency, Korea’s regulatory agency for KC Mark.
BSMI  Bureau of Standards, Metrology & Inspection is the authority responsible for standardization, metrology and product inspection in Taiwan.
GOST  Russia Federal Agency on Technical Regulating and Metrology.

Publishers: Magazines & Blogs
IAEI Magazine  Magazine for electrical inspectors.
IN Compliance Magazine  Formerly Conformity, covers product safety along with other compliance disciplines.
Product Safety Letter  Digital newsletter and website.
Test & Measurement World  Covers product safety occasionally.
Hazardous Area International Magazine  Coverage includes hazardous location and explosive atmosphere compliance.
Compliance Today Blog  The latest news and resources to help electrical product manufacturers comply with regulatory and buyer requirements, from MET Laboratories.
Certification & Test Blog  Information, from TRaC Global, on testing and certification services, ranging from telecoms & radio and environmental, through to analysis, safety and EMC.
Directive Decoder Blog  Analysis of European legislation.
NEMA Currents Blog  Blog of the Association of Electrical and Medical Imaging Equipment Manufacturers.

IEEE  The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to advancing technological innovation.
PSES Email Forum  A lively Listserv made up of about 700 engineers and technicians.  Sponsored by IEEE.
Testing Equipment Suppliers  Published by IECEE.
ICPHSO  The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization.

What are your favorite online product safety compliance resources?  Please leave a comment with a link to it.

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U.S. Electrical Product Safety Governed by OSHA and Local Code

by on Jan.05, 2012, under Product Safety

Staying compliant with electrical product safety in the United States can be a challenge.  Here is a basic primer for contractors and facility owners.

Electrical product safety is specified at the federal level and the local level:

  • Federal law governs electrical equipment utilized in the workplace
  • Local building code officials enforce local standards ordinances and laws pertinent to a given occupancy

On the federal level, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires safety for employees.  As specified in 29CFR1910 subpart S, electrical equipment used in the workplace must be certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), like MET Labs.

Approval of NRTL certifications is governed by the policies of the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), which is typically a governmental electrical inspector, fire marshal or third party inspection agency.

The AHJ also enforces local building codes.  These codes can be state, county, or city, and they do not apply to equipment used by employees in the workplace.  Historically, electrical inspectors have only looked at the fixed wiring within the installation, but have recently increased surveillance of installed equipment for electrical safety compliance.   

There are thousands of local jurisdictions in the U.S., and regulations are not uniform across all localities. The AHJ can defer to the NRTL recognition (as with San Francisco) or may specify its own list of approved labs for product certification.

Typically, local code is based on NFPA 70 National Electrical Code (NEC), although there are addendums to the NEC in many jurisdictions.

Under local electrical codes, an inspector must sign off on the installation before it can be energized.  If the equipment is not already safety certified (listed or labeled), it can be field evaluated if required by the AHJ to satisfy the requirements of federal or local regulations.

Read more about field evaluation and listing/labeling.

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