Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Coalition Advocating Safety in OSHA Product-Approval Process

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), in conjunction with 18 other organizations, has submitted a letter to Thomas M. Stohler, Acting Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health, expressing concerns regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) consideration of a proposal to adopt Supplier's Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) as an alternative to third-party certification of electrical products used in American workplaces.

At the request of European Commission, OSHA in October 2008 published in the Federal Register a Request for Information on a proposal to permit the use of an SDoC as an alternative to the nationally recognized testing laboratories (NRTLs) product-approval process. In their response to Acting Assistant Secretary Stohler, NEMA and its coalition allies stressed the safety benefits of using third-party certification for electrical products and commended OSHA’s NRTL program as a cost-effective and efficient avenue for ensuring the safety of American workers.

"We are hopeful that OSHA will not be influenced by false claims that international trade priorities necessitate replacing the well-established NRTL program with SDoC," NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis said. "It would be unwise to compromise the most successful electrical safety system in the world."

"The U.S. electrical safety system, which is principally based on third-party certification, is regarded as one of the most effective systems in the world for successfully ensuring workplace safety, while at the same time allowing for free and open market access for products and services, with minimal cost to the taxpayer," the coalition letter states. "Indeed, those who now wish to institutionalize SDoC must accept that the checks-and-balances of our current system have played a fundamental role in driving U.S. electrical products to be the safest in the world." To view a copy of the letter and a complete list of coalition members, please click here or visit http://www.nema.org/SDOCs_Letter_to_OSHA.

NEMA will be submitting detailed comments on specific issues raised in OSHA’s Request for Information by the January 20, 2009 deadline.

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity.

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