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    Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories; Proposed Satellite Notification and Acceptance Program
[Federal Register: April 21, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 77)][Notices]               
[Page 21378-21381]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Occupational Safety and Health Administration

 [Docket No. OSHA-2007-0053]

Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories; Proposed Satellite 
Notification and Acceptance Program

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 
requests comment on a new segment being proposed under its Nationally 
Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) Program. This segment is called 
the Satellite Notification and Acceptance Program, and participation by 
NRTLs in the program is voluntary. The description for this program 
specifies the criteria and conditions under which any NRTL may control 
and audit certain facilities in order to perform particular functions 
at those facilities.

DATES: You must submit information or comments by the following dates:
     Hard copy: postmarked or sent by May 21, 2008.
     Electronic transmission or facsimile: sent by May 21, 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
    Electronically: You may submit comments electronically at 
http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. 
Follow the instructions online for making electronic submissions.
    Fax: If your submissions, including attachments, are not longer 
than 10 pages, you may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-
    Mail, hand delivery, express mail, messenger or courier service: 
You must submit three copies of your comments to the OSHA Docket 
Office, Docket No. OSHA-2007-0053, U.S. Department of Labor, Room N-
2625, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210. Deliveries 
(hand, express mail, messenger and courier service) are accepted during 
the Department of Labor's and Docket Office's normal business hours, 
8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., e.t.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and the 
OSHA docket number (OSHA Docket No. OSHA-2007-0053). Submissions, 
including any personal information you provide, are placed in the 
public docket without change and may be made available online at 
    Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the 
docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at 
the address above. All documents in the docket are listed in the 
http://www.regulations.gov index, however, some information (e.g., 
copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download 
through the Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, 
are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office.
    Extension of Comment Period: Submit requests for extensions 
concerning this notice to the Office of Technical Programs and 
Coordination Activities, NRTL Program, Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., 
Room N-3655, Washington, DC 20210. Or, fax to (202) 693-1644.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: MaryAnn Garrahan, Director, Office of 
Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, NRTL Program, 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of 
Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-3655, Washington, DC 20210, 
or phone (202) 693-2110. Our Web page includes information about the 
NRTL Program (see http://www.osha.gov and select "N" in the site 



    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is 
proposing a new operational segment under its Nationally Recognized 
Testing Laboratory (NRTL) Program; it will be called the Satellite 
Notification and Acceptance Program (SNAP). This new segment would 
allow NRTLs to use facilities referred to as "SNAP sites," which they 
control and audit, in order to perform particular functions necessary 
in the NRTL's testing and certification operations. These functions
are called "certification functions" in this notice. NRTLs would need 
to meet certain criteria and conditions to be approved by OSHA for 
    SNAP would become the NRTL Program's ninth "supplemental 
program"; the supplemental programs are one of the three elements of 
the NRTL scope of recognition. In general, these supplemental programs 
permit a qualified NRTL to use the services or activities of other 
parties or facilities for purposes of testing and certifying products. 
The initial eight programs were formally established by OSHA for the 
NRTL Program through publication of their description in the Federal 
Register (see 60 FR 12980, March 9, 1995). That notice set forth the 
criteria and conditions that an NRTL must meet to use a particular 
program. More information about supplemental programs is given later in 
this notice and is also available under Chapter 2 of the NRTL Program 
Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines (referred to as NRTL Program 
Directive or NRTL Directive, for short), which may be found at 
http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/index.html. Use of any of these 
supplemental programs by any NRTL is voluntary.
    In this notice, we provide background about the NRTL Program, for 
those unfamiliar with the program, and then follow with the description 
of SNAP. The detailed program description of SNAP is available for 
viewing or downloading at the above Web page link.
    This notice is published to provide the public with an opportunity 
to comment on OSHA's pending action. This action does not change any of 
the requirements for NRTLs, found under 29 CFR 1910.7, or any of the 
OSHA requirements for approval of particular products by NRTLs. SNAP is 
an internal policy, which would be made part of the NRTL Directive and 
thus become an NRTL Program policy. The Agency is requesting public 
comment on this action in the interest of providing a formal 
opportunity for input by NRTLs and the public. OSHA obtained informal 
comments from NRTLs on a draft version of SNAP prior to publication of 
this notice.

Background on NRTLs

    Many of OSHA's standards require that certain types of workplace 
equipment be approved (i.e., tested and certified) by an NRTL. For 
example, 29 CFR 1910.303(a) (read together with the definitions of 
"approved" and "acceptable" in 29 CFR 1910.399) generally requires 
such approval for electrical equipment or products. OSHA's requirement 
for approval helps to ensure that products are safe for use in the 
    NRTLs are qualified organizations that are recognized under the 
Agency's NRTL Program as meeting the requirements in 29 CFR 1910.7 to 
perform independent (i.e., third-party) product safety testing and 
certification. To be recognized by OSHA as an NRTL, an organization 
must: (1) Have the appropriate capability to test and evaluate products 
for workplace safety purposes; (2) be completely independent of the 
manufacturers, vendors, and major users of the products for which OSHA 
requires certification; (3) have internal programs that ensure proper 
control of the testing and certification process; and (4) establish 
effective reporting and complaint handling procedures (29 CFR 
    OSHA's NRTL recognition process involves a thorough analysis of an 
organization's policies and procedures to ensure that it meets all of 
the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7. OSHA also performs a comprehensive 
on-site review of the applicant's testing and certification facilities. 
After initial recognition, the Program staff also conduct annual on-
site audits to ensure that the NRTLs adequately perform their testing 
and certification activities and maintain the quality of those 
    The recognition process is described in Appendix A to 29 CFR 
1910.7, which is further explained in Chapters 2 through 6 of the NRTL 
Program Directive (CPL 01-00-003--CPL 1-0.3). All of these documents 
are available through the Program's Web site (see http://www.osha.gov/
    Each NRTL is approved for a scope of recognition which identifies: 
(1) The types of products the NRTL may approve, (2) the NRTL's 
"recognized sites" which are the NRTL's wholly-owned sites that can 
perform the full range of product testing and certification activities 
necessary in approving those products, and (3) "supplemental 
programs" through which the NRTL can use other resources in performing 
activities necessary for product testing and certification. To date, 
the "supplemental programs" mainly have allowed the NRTL's recognized 
sites to accept (i.e., use) other-party product testing, specifically 
testing performed by non-NRTL independent testing labs and by product 
    As indicated above, to be recognized, the NRTL must be capable of 
performing two key operations in approving products: testing and 
certification or, more broadly, operating a product safety-testing 
program and a product-certification program. The latter program, for 
purposes of OSHA requirements, consists of listing/labeling and follow-
up inspection programs. While both operations are necessary for 
approval, the NRTL's certification program is fundamentally important 
to the control of the approval process. Not only does this program 
involve the issuance of the initial certification, but through it the 
NRTL also gains assurance that all manufactured units of the product 
have the same safety features as the unit initially tested and 
    Although OSHA does not require NRTLs to perform all testing 
themselves, our policy has restricted them to perform certain 
"certification functions" only at their recognized sites. The 
rationale for such a limitation was that OSHA initially evaluated the 
NRTL's resources and capabilities to perform these functions at those 
specific sites and then monitored the NRTL's performance of these 
critical functions during its audits of those sites. However, 
responding to industry needs to perform these functions at other 
locations, OSHA would adopt a new NRTL Program policy allowing NRTLs to 
use special unrecognized sites to perform certification functions and, 
if qualified, product testing too. We would allow this use by 
implementing a new supplemental program, called the Satellite 
Notification and Acceptance Program (SNAP). Before describing the new 
program, and the functions allowed under it, we further explain what we 
mean by "supplemental programs."
    As noted above, these supplemental programs allow the NRTLs to use 
other qualified parties to perform a particular activity, and to date 
most of these programs have allowed NRTLs to accept (i.e., use) other-
party product testing. To be approved to use a program, NRTLs must 
apply to OSHA which determines if they meet the applicable criteria or 
conditions for the program. Approval to use any program is unrelated to 
OSHA's determination of whether an NRTL meets the requirements for 
recognition under 29 CFR 1910.7. The supplemental programs merely serve 
as a means for OSHA to ensure that NRTLs engage in certain activities 
only if they have met certain criteria or conditions. Use of 
supplemental programs by any NRTL is voluntary.

Background on Relevant NRTL Program Policy and New Program Segment

    When OSHA first implemented these supplemental programs, it allowed 
long-standing practices of the product testing and certification industry 
but defined the necessary minimum elements for their use. By doing 
this, OSHA improved the effectiveness and uniform application of these 
practices by all NRTLs and assured that they would, in testing and 
certifying products, properly utilize the resources provided by other 
parties. Use of a supplemental program often reduces the time and cost 
necessary for product approval, but the NRTL must still exercise 
adequate control to ensure that other parties are performing their 
testing or other activities appropriately.
    OSHA has for many years allowed NRTLs to use testing performed by 
other NRTLs or by non-recognized facilities (i.e., satellites) of the 
NRTL, again a practice that was common in the industry. The new 
supplemental program being proposed today basically expands the role 
that satellites perform in the NRTL's approval process.
    In adopting this new program, OSHA would allow NRTLs to engage in 
activities that address challenges they face in testing and certifying 
products but, similar to other programs, defining minimum criteria and 
conditions for these activities. The proposed program would permit a 
qualified NRTL to perform certification activities at many more 
locations than OSHA currently allows. These additional locations could 
also qualify testing locations and accept test and evaluation data, 
activities that OSHA had to date restricted to recognized sites. This 
program also could potentially expedite any NRTL's approval activities. 
Allowing the program is a measured approach since we do so with the 
clear objectives of maintaining the effectiveness of our NRTL 
monitoring and assuring that the safety of NRTL approved products is 
not compromised.
    Like all supplemental programs, the SNAP is yet another segment 
within the NRTL Program. Similar to these programs, the NRTL must apply 
to OSHA and meet very specific criteria before receiving approval to 
use SNAP. The SNAP Program Description describes these criteria, which 
specify a series of controls and safeguards for both the NRTL and OSHA. 
As another similarity, to use any particular site as a satellite under 
SNAP (which we call a SNAP site), the NRTL must qualify it to ensure 
that the site can perform one or more of the allowable functions 
covered under SNAP. However, these SNAP sites would not be recognized 
sites under the OSHA NRTL Program, and thus would not be considered in 
any determination regarding recognition of the NRTL.
    In contrast to those other programs, OSHA would audit the SNAP 
sites and the NRTL site that centrally manages its SNAP operations; the 
Agency does not audit facilities which the NRTL qualifies under one of 
the existing programs, and would not audit those qualified by SNAP 
sites, either. In addition, OSHA could drop any NRTL or satellite from 
SNAP if warranted due to noncompliance with any conditions. Any NRTL 
not approved to use SNAP must perform the functions below only at its 
recognized site(s).
    NRTLs can always apply to OSHA to "convert" any of their 
satellites or SNAP sites to a recognized site. We would process this 
application as a regular scope expansion, and thus grant it if the site 
met the necessary requirements.
    The functions that could be performed at a qualified SNAP site, 
each briefly explained, are:
    1. Qualify sites under Programs 2 through 7, or parties under 
Program 9, which are all described in a March 9, 1995, FR notice (60 FR 
    Programs 2 through 7 involve the NRTL's acceptance or use of 
testing data or product evaluations from other parties, specifically 
independent labs and product manufacturers. Under these programs, NRTLs 
must "qualify" each location (or site) generating the data or 
evaluation. In qualifying it, NRTLs ensure that a site meets the NRTL's 
internal criteria for the capability to perform the work to be accepted 
or used. Program 9 involves the NRTL using other parties to perform 
services, such as calibration of equipment or follow-up inspections. 
NRTLs qualify each supplier to ensure that it meets the NRTL's internal 
criteria for providing the specific service. To date, only recognized 
sites have performed such activities, but SNAP sites could too.
    2. Accept data under Programs 2 through 8 which are described in 
the March 9, 1995, FR notice (60 FR 12980).
    In accepting testing data or product evaluations under Programs 2 
through 8 (see above), the NRTL must have the appropriate technical 
personnel for review of the adequacy and accuracy of the data. The NRTL 
must have clear procedures on how to conduct the review. Only 
recognized sites and SNAP sites having these elements could perform the 
    3. Maintain or provide the only access to primary product test and 
evaluation files or records for any of the Programs.
    The NRTL must have and make available to OSHA the primary product 
test and evaluation files or records for its activities. Such documents 
are essential to proper performance and review by the NRTL of its 
activities and are fundamental to OSHA's audit of NRTLs. Current 
technology allows many of these records to be converted to electronic 
medium and made available remotely. In addition, some records can be 
stored by others or at locations remote from the site where they were 
originally generated. In short, a recognized or SNAP site must either 
maintain or provide access to these records or files.
    4. Perform the final technical review or make the final decision on 
certification of a product.
    Performing the final technical review or making the final decision 
on certification of a product is the culmination of the technical 
process for product certification. This review or decision must be made 
by well-qualified technical staff and represents the assurance that the 
product meets the applicable provisions of the relevant test standard. 
Such review is necessary before the final decision can be made. Only 
recognized sites and SNAP sites having this capability could perform 
this function.
    5. Finally, under SNAP, OSHA would allow SNAP sites that are wholly 
owned by the NRTL to authorize the use of the NRTL's mark.
    OSHA has long considered the authorization by the NRTL to use its 
mark as equivalent to the final decision on certification and thus 
believes it is appropriate to limit this activity to SNAP sites that 
are wholly owned by the NRTL. The NRTL should adequately control this 
function since it should only occur simultaneously or concurrently with 
the final decision on certification.

Acceptance of Applications and Final Notice for SNAP

    OSHA would begin accepting applications from NRTLs for using SNAP 
beginning 60 days from the date of publication of the Federal Register 
notice announcing the Agency's formal implementation of SNAP. Following 
publication, we will invite Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories 
and applicants for recognition to apply for approval to use the SNAP. 
The program description, and a letter sent to NRTLs concurrently with 
publication of this notice, is available through 
http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/index.html, the main Web site 
for the NRTL Program.
    OSHA welcomes public comments on its proposal to adopt SNAP, 
including any suggested changes to SNAP or any alternative that is 
equivalent to it. Your comments should consist of pertinent written 
documents and exhibits. Should you need more time to comment, you must 
request it in writing, including reasons for the request. OSHA must 
receive your written request for extension at the address provided 
above no later than the last date for comments. OSHA will limit any 
extension to 30 days, unless the requester justifies a longer period. 
You may obtain or review documents related to this notice, as received, 
by contacting OSHA's Docket Office (see ADDRESSES section above). Docket 
No. OSHA-2007-0053 contains all materials in the record concerning OSHA's 
NRTL SNAP Program.
    OSHA will review all timely comments and determine whether any of 
them merit modification of the elements of SNAP or delay in its 

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 15th day of April, 2008.
Edwin G. Foulke, Jr.,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
 [FR Doc. E8-8430 Filed 4-18-08; 8:45 am]