· 6 min read
Electrical Certification in the U.S. and Canada
Safety first. The electrical codes in the United States and Canada — respectively, the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) — require certification by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and/or an accredited certification body (CB) for use and sale of certain kinds of electrical products.
Why It’s Important to Work With an Accredited Laboratory/Certification Body
In the U.S., NRTLs are independent third-party organizations accredited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to evaluate, test and certify certain products to ensure that they meet nationally recognized electrical standards. This helps protect product users from dangers such as electric shock, electrocution, fires and explosions. NRTLs provide:
- Product testing
- Field evaluation (on-site product evaluation when necessary)
- Assessment of production site
- Product listing
- Follow-up inspections
OSHA recognizes 17 organizations in the U.S. as NRTLs, each for testing and certifying to a particular scope of test standards. The test standards are product-specific to verify the safety of equipment when used as intended.
The National Electrical Code for the United States is a required code for building installations to protect the public and property from potential electrical hazards. It has been adopted by all 50 states and is revised every three years to incorporate new and updated technology and improved safety and work practices. The electrical product standards referenced in the NEC, such as those developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), are used to test individual product design.
In Canada, the Canadian Electrical Code requires that manufacturers of electrical products get certification through one of the accredited certification bodies — equivalent to NRTLs. The certification verifies that products comply with the requirements of the applicable product standard(s).
The Accreditation Services branch of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) accredits CBs, such as testing laboratories and product certification bodies, to determine whether a product, service or system meets the requirements of a particular standard. This includes standards referenced in the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). The CEC is a set of building, installation and maintenance requirements published by the Canadian Standards Association and updated every three years.
NSF International has NRTL accreditation in the U.S. and CB accreditation in Canada.
The Certification Mark: Assurance That a Product Meets Relevant Safety Standards
When the NRTL or CB has tested and certified that a product meets the relevant safety standard, the certifying organization issues a certificate detailing the scope of the test standard. In addition, every product that has received NRTL or CB certification must bear that organization’s mark. This is the buyer’s or consumer’s assurance that the product is certified by an independent third party and meets the specific requirements of one or more appropriate product safety test standards.
When you see a certification mark from any of these organizations, you can trust the product meets stringent requirements and has been tested by an accredited, competent and objective third party.
Examples of Products That Require Electrical Certification
Note: This is not an exhaustive list.
In the U.S.:
- Commercial dishwashers
- Commercial ovens
- Commercial refrigerators and freezers
- Commercial steam cookers
- Drinking water systems
- Food-holding cabinets
- Hot food-holding cabinets
- Ice machines
- Pool products
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Vending machines
- Wastewater treatment products
- Water coolers
- Commercial cooking appliances
- Electric plumbing appliances
- Electric spas and associated equipment
- Household cooking and liquid heating appliances
- Hydromassage bathtubs and bathtub appliances
- Motor-operated appliances
- Motor-operated commercial food-preparing machines
- Plumbing fittings incorporating electrical
- Refrigeration equipment
- Spas, pools and hot tubs
Give Buyers and Consumers the Assurance of the NSF Mark
If you want to sell your product in both the U.S. and Canada, you can save time and money by having us evaluate your product for conformity with standards in both countries. When your buyers see the NSF certification mark, they can trust the product has been tested by an accredited, objective third party and that it meets the stringent requirements of OSHA and the SCC.