The news item, “States Lax on Industrial Equipment Standards,” which ran in the May 2006 issue, contained several inaccurate statements concerning the State of Oregon and our approach to regulating industrial electrical equipment. The article stated: “Last year, Oregon went a step further, exempting industrial equipment from requiring any kind of permits, inspections, or third-party evaluation.” And Joe Andre is quoted as saying: “Nobody actually looks at it, so anything can come in and be hooked up — and the inspection agencies don't have any control over it whatsoever.”

The law in question was enacted by the Oregon legislature during my time as the chief electrical inspector. In fact, the law change does not remove the requirement for permitting and inspection. In addition, the installation must be performed by state licensed electricians. The installation of the industrial electrical equipment must be inspected by the authority having jurisdiction and must meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC). Not only do the inspection agencies still have control over assuring the safety of the installation, but they are also now required to ensure that there are no exposed live parts — and that grounding, bonding and overcurrent protection meet the requirements of the NEC, whether or not the equipment has been evaluated. This law simply removed the requirement for third-party certification (NRTL or field evaluation) from the Oregon Electrical Safety Law. Industrial electrical equipment is still governed by Oregon and Federal OSHA, which contain stringent equipment safety standards.

Oregon has a long history of commitment to electrical safety that was not compromised by this change, which was brought about to provide industrial users with relief from an inconsistent, capricious, and costly product certification process.
John Powell
Former Chief Electrical Inspector
State of Oregon