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Northern American standards and test bodies

The Body overseeing health and safety in the workplace in the USA is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Individual States may have their own safety regulatory organizations which may enforce stricter regulations than OSHA.

OSHA oversees the application of laws and regulations in force at the Federal level, and in turn issues safety standards covering the use and construction of safety devices and/or machine tools. 
An important example of such activity is Standard OSHA 1910.217 – Mechanical Power Presses.

The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) issues standards on the safety of machine tools or particular aspects of their construction or operation. For the preparation of these standards ANSI often relies on the contribution of non-profit organizations such as the Robotic Industry Association (RIA), or the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

Examples of major ANSI standards:
B11 standards, including:
B11.1 - Mechanical Power Presses
B11.2 - Hydraulic Power Presses
B11.3 - Power Press Brakes
B11.4 - Shears
B11.19 - Performance Criteria for the Design, Construction, Care and Operation of Safeguarding When Referenced by other B11 Machine Tool Safety Standards (design, construction, maintenance and operation criteria for protection devices specified in Std. B11 covering machine tools).

Other ANSI standards:
B20.1 - Conveyor Belts
ANSI/RIA R15.06 - Safety Requirements for Industrial Robots.

Contrary to Europe, North America does not accept a certificate of conformity as an approval to sell and install electrical equipment.

Prior to installation the device or system in question must be inspected by the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).
If the device in question is already listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), the competent authority is dispensed from inspecting the product. The mark of a NRTL assures product conformity to safety standards in force.

Although not mandatory in North America, certification facilitates marketing as retailers, inspectors, users and local authorities readily approve any product bearing a NRTL mark. Certified installations enjoy advantages in terms of insurance benefits and freedom from potential industrial disputes, as workers unions might prevent members from operating non-certified, and therefore possibly dangerous, machinery.

OSHA is the body authorized to approve NRTLs.
NRTLs shall obtain approval for all national and foreign facilities for all products for which they are authorized to award certification. To obtain accreditation, the applicant shall also, but not only, prove to be independent of any users, suppliers or retailers of the products for which certification is sought.
NRTLs may develop and apply for approval of its own developed standards or adopt standards produced by other NRTLs.
Each NRTL has its own unique mark.


Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is a leading NRTL among those authorized to issue certification of electrical systems and equipment. UL is a non-profit organization listing industrial components which have been tested and proven to be safe and reliable in terms of electrical safety and fire resistance.

 

ul1 UL Listed Certification Mark means that the product in question was tested and verified to be in line with USA safety requirements.
UL Listed General Mark certifies conformance to fire resistance and electrical safety requirements.

 

ul2 UL certification also includes components such as safety light curtains which are covered by Std. UL 61496-1 and Std. UL 61496-2 derived from international Std. IEC 61496-1,2. Systems incorporating safety software can be also certified as per Std. ANSI/UL 1998. Safety light curtains (ESPE) are covered by a specific marking certifying compliance with the appropriate product standard and with Std. ANSI/1998. Reer safety curtains are in line with all these requirements and bear the associated mark of approval.

 

ul3 UL may also certify conformity to CSA Canadian Standards (through C-UL mark or C-UL-US mark for products to be marketed in Canada and in the USA).

 

The Canadian Standard Association (CSA) is the main Canadian standardization body and acting certification authority competent for verification of conformance of safety components to Canadian regulations. As Nationally Recognized Test Laboratory (NRTL) for the USA, CSA is authorized to verify conformance of all products under OSHA jurisdiction and award the CSA mark of NRTL/C, equivalent toC-US UL, which applies for example to safety light curtains.

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