What’s in a certification? Well, if you’re working with electrical products, then there’s a lot. The idea of using electrical devices that haven’t been held to any 3rd party standard should concern us. Trustworthy companies manufacturing safe, reliable products get their products certified. But what do all these certifications mean…Intertek vs. UL, CSA, NRTL? Well, let’s take a closer look at what all these certifications mean in the market of electrical equipment.
In order for a business or facility to comply with Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration (OSHA) standards, certain safety requirements must be met. Under OSHA’s safety standards, electrical equipment must be certified by a legitimate and recognized 3rd party testing laboratory. That would include being inspected and tested by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), or another federal/state/municipal/legal authority responsible for occupational safety compliance.
Don’t gamble on electrical equipment that doesn’t use legitimate 3rd party verification and certification. Buying or using non-certified electrical products is not worth the risk of safety hazards or high failure rates.
Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories
There are several NRTLs that work as 3rd party quality assurance organizations. In North America specifically, there are 3 major companies geared toward enhancing the safety and efficiency of industrial and commercial products: Underwriters Labs, Intertek (ETL), and Canadian Standards Association. While manufacturers aren’t required to adhere to the stringent guidelines of these 3 companies, all the most reputable businesses do.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a NRTL that is devoted to scientific safety testing. They work with electronics and batteries, chemicals, fire safety, and all the data and educational outreach that comes with it. Their goal is to scientifically inspect new products and technologies to ensure they are safe, effective, usable, and sustainable.
Intertek Laboratories (ETL)
Intertek is a laboratory testing service that works with materials across a wide variety of industries such as: food, chemicals, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, electronics, toys, fuels, and a huge list of materials used in consumer and industrial goods. Intertek’s “ETL” certification mark is a verification seal of the “Electrical Testing Lab” founded by Thomas Edison.
Canadian Standards Association
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) tests, inspects, and certifies lab equipment, lighting, tools and construction equipment, information technology, personal protection equipment, appliances, and power or energy storage. The CSA does not work with Canada exclusively but with many different countries all over the world.
The Advantages of Intertek (ETL)
While all 3 of these organizations are great resources for proper safety certifications, Powerblanket works with Intertek for certain reasons. The primary purpose behind the company’s decision to go with Intertek stems from the locales of industries we serve. With customers throughout the US and Canada (as well as overseas) Powerblanket needed a testing laboratory that met both Canadian and US certification standards. Of the 3 major Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories mentioned here, Intertek was the clear choice.
While Underwriters Labs strictly adheres to US standards and can couple with Canadian standards, like Intertek, and while CSA is equally supportive of the same expectations in Canada, Powerblanket chose Intertek because of how helpful and supportive they are through the certification process. After all, gaining 3rd party validation from an NRTL isn’t a trite exercise. As is the case with UL and CSA, Powerblanket works with Intertek because of its commitment to quality and safety. All of Powerblanket products have undergone their stringent testing protocols for safety, which means our customers can rest assured they have both an efficient and entirely safe heating solution.
Misused Certification Marks
Not all certifications are created equal. In fact, some are entirely misleading. When it comes to purchasing products with certification labels, you need to beware of the self-proclaimed certifications being used by some manufacturers.
CE, you’ve probably seen the mark before. You’ll find this mark among certification labels on a myriad of electronics. But how many of us know what it is? For example, did you know that CE isn’t a certification at all?
The CE marking is a self-identifying mark that manufacturers place on their products to declare they are in compliance with the standards of Conformité Européenne (meaning: European Community). The CE mark identifies electrical products “said” to fall under the expectations set by European legislation.
However, the unfortunate downside for consumers is that some manufacturers will use this mark as a pseudo certification. Remember, CE is a self-proclaimed mark of compliance. There are no protocols, no testing, and no third-party validation necessary for a product to bare the CE mark. Any manufacturer can stamp it on their product as a claim to safety, but that claim only goes as far as the manufacturer’s word. In other words, the CE mark alone should offer no reassure to a consumer that the product is safe or efficient at what it does. So if you’re considering the purchase of a product that boasts nothing more than a CE mark, you should really reconsider ever getting it in the first place.
National Electrical Code
It sounds very legitimate; doesn’t it—the National Electrical Code? But the misuse of this code is even more ridiculous than the first. Some manufacturers attempt to provide unwarranted customer assurance by using the common NEC abbreviation. The problem with touting compliance with the National Electrical Code for electronics is the simple fact that it is entirely irrelevant.
The National Electric Code is used as a compliance measure for wiring commercial and residential buildings with electricity. That’s right, buildings. Now how absurd would it be for an electronics manufacturer to say their product complies with the National Electrical Code? The moral of the story, beware of self-proclaimed certification labels.
Powerblanket Safety Certified Heating Solutions
Above all, Powerblanket prioritizes safety and efficiency in all our products. Additionally, we pride ourselves on supporting an innovative manufacturing workplace for our entire team. We work hard to attain the certifications necessary to give our customers reliability and peace of mind.
Contact us today to find safe and efficient heating products for your needs at 844.557.4482 or [email protected]