In the U.S. workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that all electrical equipment be safety certified. Many state, county and local jurisdictions also have similar requirements.
However, equipment is sometimes installed that has not been certified or has been modified after installation.
Then, a field evaluation may be necessary, as determined by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).
OSHA has an accreditation program for Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs), but no similar program exists for organizations that evaluate products in the field. Therefore, there are dozens of testing companies that claim competency to conduct field evaluations of electrical equipment.
Now, new National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards 790 and 791 can provide a way to verify such claims.
NFPA 790, Standard for Competency of Third-Party Field Evaluation Bodies
This standard establishes minimum competency requirements for organizations that perform field evaluations, including:
- Using nationally recognized standards
- Demonstrating technical expertise on the equipment being evaluated
- Barring conflicts of interests, such as being owned by a manufacturer
- Barring modifications required for a product to achieve compliance
- Personnel are required to meet competence criteria
- Maintenance of records related to technical staff qualifications, training and experience
NFPA 791, Recommended Practice and Procedures for Unlabeled Electrical Equipment Evaluation
This standard was developed to describe recommended field evaluation procedures for field evaluation bodies, including:
- Field evaluations should be drawn principally from the applicable nationally recognized product safety standard
- Equipment must be capable of being installed in accordance with the NEC
All deficiencies are identified in a report that is provided to the client and the AHJ. Corrective actions may be taken to resolve these deficiencies, and when all issues are satisfactorily resolved, a label is applied by the field evaluation body to the equipment.
MET Labs is now operating a NFPA 790 & 791 Quality Management System.
Get information about the steps MET Labs takes during a field inspection.
Inquire about NRTL product safety certification for a new or modified product.