This Q &A document has been prepared in response to questions raised by clients and other interested parties in regards to a variety of topics. QPS welcomes the opportunity to answer any additional questions clients may have.
Is product listing/certification in the U.S.A. and Canada mandatory by law?
In the USA, electrical safety regulations pertaining to product approval include:
- Workplace safety laws of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and
- Installation requirements specified in NFPA 70, the National Electrical Code (NEC), and the laws of individual municipalities
OSHA’s Regulations referenced in Part 1910 of the CFR (29 CFR Part 1910) are United Sates law and stipulate that all equipment (used in the workplace) must be approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
Similarly, as per Article 110.2 and 110.3 of the NEC, all electrical equipment must either be “approved” by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) or “Listed”, or “Labeled” by a nationally accredited Certification Body.
In Canada: Product safety is under the Jurisdiction of Provincial Governments. Provincial Regulations stipulate that “no person may manufacture, install, offer for sale, or otherwise dispose of electrical equipment unless the equipment in question displays a label or mark of a certification organization that is accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC)…”
It is worth noting the absence of any reference to UL (in the U.S. regulations) and CSA (in the Canadian regulations).
Can manufacturers choose which certification mark to use?
The simple answer is “YES”. The laws in the United States and Canada allow manufacturers to choose from a number of alternative certification marks/labels that are equally recognized by the regulatory authority having jurisdiction. Consequently:
- In the USA, products bearing the mark of any Nationally accredited Certification Body satisfy both local and federal regulations and, therefore, are allowed to be sold and used in the marketplace.
- In Canada, a product bearing the mark of any Certification Body accredited by SCC is acceptable to all local regulatory authorities.
What does the QPS Certification Mark mean when displayed on a product?
A product bearing the QPS Certification Mark is a legal statement that such a product has been tested by QPS to the applicable U.S. and/or Canadian safety standards, and found to be in compliance.
Thousands of clients in North America and around the world use the QPS Mark on their products to demonstrate compliance with the regulations.
Is the QPS Certification Mark equivalent to the UL and CSA Marks?
As indicated above, the law in both the U.S. and Canada make it mandatory that electrical equipment be certified by a nationally accredited certification body. By the same laws, manufacturers have a choice. They can choose from a number of equally accredited Certification Bodies to test and certify their products.
Like UL and CSA, QPS has full accreditation in the USA and Canada. Therefore, the QPS Mark is legally equivalent to those of UL and CSA. A product bearing the QPS Mark is considered by law to meet the regulations.
What is the difference between the UL, CSA, and QPS Certification Marks?In terms of compliance, there is no difference between these Marks, given that the product must be tested to the same safety standards and meets all the applicable regulations. Therefore, the only real difference is in the service behind the mark and in the experience of the client with the Certification Body and with the process of obtaining the mark. This is where QPS enjoys a significant advantage as evidenced by the testimony of thousands of satisfied clients.
Given that UL and CSA develop standards in their respective countries, doesn’t this mean that manufacturers must use the UL and CSA marks?
The short answer to this question is “NO”. In fact, this is a huge misconception perpetuated by misled manufacturers and other parties that are not familiar with the regulations, or the standards writing process. As mentioned earlier, it is also a carry-over from the past when both UL and CSA operated as a monopoly. It is, therefore, important to note that no matter which nationally accredited Certification Body is used to certify a product, they all must meet the same national accreditation criteria, and they all must test the product in question to the same ANSI/UL standard (in the USA) and the CAN/CSA standard (in Canada).
Furthermore, it is worth noting that the national safety standards are in fact prepared by committees and subcommittees made up of volunteer members representing all walks of life and a diversity of interests, such as manufacturers, retailers, consultants, government, technical experts, and competing certification bodies. CSA and UL mainly facilitate and manage the process.
QPS actively participates in selected standard development committees and actively contributes to the development of such standards. QPS representatives act as chair of some of the committees.
Does QPS have different types of Certification Marks?
Typically, national accreditation criteria require the use of a special identifier to be shown adjacent to the certification mark to indicate which geographic area the product is certified for, and which requirements are used to certify the product.
Consequently, a product bearing the QPS Certification Mark with the “US” identifier at the 4 o’clock position means the product has been tested and found in compliance with the relevant U.S. national safety standards.
A product bearing the QPS Certification Mark with the “C” identifier at the 8 o’clock position means the product has been tested and found in compliance with the relevant Canadian national safety standards.
A product bearing the QPS Certification Mark with both “US” and “C” identifiers means the product has been tested and found in compliance with the relevant product safety standards of both the U.S. and Canada.
Do all local inspection Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) accept the QPS Certification Marks and approval Labels?
In Canada, all local AHJs accept the QPS Marks and Labels.
In the USA, there are over 50 thousand jurisdictions each of which is involved in the inspection of installation sites and acceptance of related equipment. Therefore, the honest answer is that no Certification Body can claim full acceptance at all times. However, as mentioned above, a product bearing the mark/label of an accredited Certification Body meets the law, and therefore, it is accepted by the local AHJs.
Is Field Evaluation accepted by the AHJs as a form of product approval?
The short answer is “YES”. In North America, on-site Field Evaluation is accepted by all the AHJs as an alternative method for product evaluation and approval. This approval option is suitable and desirable in situations where the product is custom-made, or it is produced/sold in limited quantity, or involves a complex system consisting of different modules and is not suitable for certification.
In Canada, only Field Evaluation/Inspection Bodies (IBs) accredited by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and formally recognized by the AHJs (such as QPS) are permitted to conduct field evaluation.