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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL, pronounced “nurtle”) program to ensure that certain kinds of equipment — including electrical appliances and devices — is tested and certified for safe workplace use. OSHA established its NRTL regulations in 1988 and recognized the first organization as a NRTL in the following year.
According to OSHA, a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory is a private-sector organization “recognized as meeting the legal requirements in 29 CFR 1910.7 to perform testing and certification of products using consensus-based test standards.” These requirements are:
To earn OSHA recognition as a NRTL, an organization must have the required capabilities as both a product safety testing laboratory and a product certification body.
A: No, OSHA is not a NRTL. OSHA is a federal government agency that recognizes independent private-sector organizations as NRTLs.
NRTL recognition means an organization is qualified to perform safety testing and certification of the specific products covered within its scope of recognition. Products that have been properly certified by a NRTL such as NSF are then acceptable to OSHA for workplace use. “Properly certified” means:
A: No, these are not the same thing. UL is one of several NRTLs recognized by OSHA.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent third-party safety certification company, similar to NSF and other NRTLs, which tests and certifies products, facilities, processes and systems based on industry-wide standards.
The only difference between the various NRTL marks lies in the services of the testing laboratories behind them. In this way NSF provides a competitive advantage and clients benefit from the full engagement of the test lab — a distinction among NRTLs.
Manufacturers can choose any NRTL listed on OSHA’s website to perform their testing and certification. When choosing the right NRTL for you, here are some factors to consider:
NSF is a leading NRTL, providing electrical testing and certification services for hundreds of companies in the food, water and automotive industries (and beyond).