<< Back to NRTLs Satellite Notification and Acceptance Progam (SNAP)

This document presents an interpretation that was issued by the OSHA Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management (DTSEM), which is the OSHA unit that contains the Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities (OTPCA). This office administers the NRTL Program.

Interpretation Request by: NRTL

Date(s) of Incoming Correspondence: January 26, and March 13, 2009

Subject: Satellite Notification and Acceptance Program (an option available under the NRTL Program)

Date of Interpretation: April 23, 2009

Regarding the SNAP functions identified as paragraphs A, B, D, and E1 on pages 926 to 927 of OSHA’s January 9, 2009, Federal Register notice on SNAP (74 FR 923):
  1. Does OSHA impose restrictions on what combination of these functions a SNAP site may perform?
  2. Is the SNAP function identified on page 926 as paragraph C, which concerns access to original records, a requirement that all SNAP sites must meet?
  3. Is SNAP product-testing activity (identified as paragraph F in the Federal Register notice) a SNAP function?
1 Note that the SNAP Description designates the SNAP functions as 1 through 5. However, the NRTL’s letter and the Federal Register notice refer to these functions as A through E, respectively. For consistency, we will use the alphabetic designations in this response, including when we refer to your e-mail.

  1. No, because following qualification of a SNAP site by an NRTL for specific functions and product-testing activities, the NRTL may allow the SNAP site to perform SNAP functions A through E, or the SNAP product-testing activities, in any combination. (Note: The SNAP Description states that products tested and/or certified, as well as programs used, at a SNAP site must be within the NRTL’s scope of recognition.)
  2. Yes, because SNAP function C concerns situations in which an NRTL uses a SNAP site to store original NRTL-related records. A site that performs this function for a NRTL must be a qualified SNAP site, even if it performs no other SNAP functions or activities. (See, also, our reply to Question 2 in your letter.)
  3. No, because a SNAP product-testing activity is not a designated SNAP function. n this regard, a qualified SNAP site may perform testing activities, in addition to SNAP functions.
If an NRTL provides access to original product-testing and evaluation records via an intranet that is accessible to its corporate sites, must the NRTL identify each of these sites as a SNAP site if the sites are not performing evaluations, testing, or product certifications associated with the NRTL Program?

No, because OSHA is not requiring that facilities with only electronic access to such records be qualified as SNAP sites. (Note: Whether the records are physical or electronic, OSHA must have access to all NRTL-related testing and certification records.)

In the NRTL Program Policies, Procedures and Guidelines, paragraph X of Appendix C (“Sites”) permits testing at unrecognized sites when the sites are either wholly owned (directly or indirectly) or organizationally encompassed by the NRTL, provided the NRTL maintains proper control over the sites. If unrecognized sites are brought into the NRTL’s SNAP operations, must the NRTL conduct audits of each of these sites twice per year?

Yes, because, as stated in the SNAP Description, for each existing SNAP site performing only SNAP product testing, the NRTL must perform a minimum of one onsite requalification audit every 12 months. With the adoption of SNAP, NRTLs may also accept product testing from their qualified SNAP sites. However, if a SNAP site conducts both testing activities and SNAP functions, the NRTL must perform a minimum of two requalification audits at that site during any 12-month period.

A two-part question as follows:
  1. May an NRTL qualify a SNAP site for SNAP functions A through D solely by qualifying the staff assigned to the site?
  2. Can the scope of a SNAP site’s qualification be the aggregate of the qualifications of all the individuals assigned to the site?
  1. No, because to qualify a SNAP site for functions A through D, an NRTL must qualify a physical site as a SNAP site, and also define the scope of the site’s qualification in terms of the qualifications of the staff located at the site. Accordingly, the scope of a SNAP site’s qualification covers the area(s) in which the site is qualified to perform work. For example, a SNAP site could qualify testing laboratories or manufacturers to perform testing, but only to particular test standards.
  2. Yes, if the aggregate qualification of individuals at the qualified SNAP site represent its scope of qualification. Therefore, a qualified SNAP site cannot consist solely of staff—it also must have a qualified physical site.
May the SNAP site audits be conducted electronically, or must each audit be conducted onsite?

Yes; if the sole capability of a SNAP site resides in the individual’s qualification for particular work under SNAP functions A through D, and the site’s records are available electronically, then electronic auditing methods are acceptable and would meet the onsite-audit requirements of the SNAP provided the site is not physically testing products. In this situation, OSHA may choose to travel to the individual’s location or meet with the individual as part of its audit of the SNAP site.

If a SNAP site performs physical testing, then the NRTL must conduct an onsite visit at the SNAP site a minimum of once a year to meet the onsite-audit requirements of the SNAP. Physical testing and testing activities consist of conformity assessment of a product sample that involves the use of any testing equipment or a hands-on technical evaluation or observation. When such testing is a SNAP function, as is the case in acceptance of testing performed under program 8 (SNAP function B), the NRTL must conduct two audits of the SNAP site each year. In its SNAP application, the NRTL must provide, under procedures, clarification on what testing activities the SNAP site will perform, and the type (i.e., onsite or electronic) and frequency of audits the NRTL will conduct at the SNAP site.

If an NRTL posts an electronic database describing a SNAP site’s scope of qualification, and makes this database available to OSHA, will this procedure properly notify OSHA of changes to the site’s scope of qualification?

No because the SNAP Description specifies that an NRTL must notify OSHA of the initial qualification of a SNAP site, including its location and scope of qualification, and of any changes in the site’s location, scope, and qualification status (e.g., renewal of qualification). The NRTL may store this information on a public or private website to which OSHA has access, provided that the NRTL also notifies OSHA about these changes through appropriate channels (i.e., letter, e-mail or similar notification).

I hope this letter addresses your questions. Should you have any other questions, or need additional clarification of these replies, please contact Kevin Robinson or Bernard Pasquet at 202-693-2110.


Thomas Galassi
Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management

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