The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that it will continue to require third-party certification via the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program for electrical products used in American workplaces and refrain from adopting Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC). OSHA's decision endorses the position taken by Rosslyn, Va.-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in comments submitted to the agency in January 2009.

"OSHA should be applauded for its commitment to third-party certification to enhance electrical safety in U.S. workplaces,” NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis says. "The existing NRTL program provides an efficient and cost-effective way to ensure the installation and use of safe, reliable products."

The decision, which was published officially in the Federal Register on December 17, is a formal response to comments received on the Request for Information (RFI) issued in October 2008. The RFI was initiated at the request of the European Commission to permit an SDoC system in the United States similar to the one allowed in the European Union.

OSHA's response, however, finds that "the record contains no statistically sound evidence demonstrating that an SDoC system provides a high degree of protection for electrical safety in the workplace, and what evidence there is raises concerns that the SDoC system may be less protective than the NRTL system."

To read OSHA's response in its entirety, go to www.ofr.gov/.

For more information on the SDoC debate, read the October 2009 article "Fair Trade" on the EC&M website .