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OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.
April 21, 1993
Mr. Spencer P. Grieco
Vice President, U.S. Operations
American Gas Association Laboratories
8501 East Pleasant Valley Road
Cleveland, Ohio 44131
Dear Mr. Grieco:
Thank you for your letter of April 2, addressed to the former Acting Assistant Secretary Dorothy L. Strunk requesting that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration expand your nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL) recognition. Your letter was forwarded to the Directorate of Technical Support for response.
You are to be congratulated on your venture in forming the International Approval Services (IAS) with the Canadian Gas Association. I am not able, however, to support your request to expand the American Gas Association (AGA) NRTL accreditation to include this new organization.
The NRTL accreditation cannot be transferred to other organizations, within an existing organization, or to newly- formed organizations. An NRTL recognition results from OSHA's verifying a laboratory's capability to certify a specific set of product standards related to workplace safety. This verification includes a review of the facilities, equipment and personnel as outlined in 29 Code of Federal Regulations 1910.7, Appendix A. The scope of an NRTL recognition can be expanded to include additional standards that are within a laboratory's demonstrated capabilities but it cannot be extended to facilities and programs that have not been reviewed.
Again, thank you for keeping me informed of the changes in AGA organizational structure. I trust you understand that the current NRTL recognition is limited to the programs and facilities that existed at the time of your accreditation. Please feel free to contact Hank Woodcock at (202) 219-7065 or Roy Resnick at (202) 219-7193 to discuss the scope of the NRTL program more fully.
Patricia K. Clark
Directorate of Technical Support
April 2, 1993
Ms. Dorothy L. Strunk
Acting Assistant Secretary
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health
200 Constitution Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20210
Subject: Recognition of International Approval Services as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory
Dear Ms. Strunk:
This letter requests the following actions by the Occupational, Safety and Health Administration:
1. The American Gas Association has recently entered into a joint venture with the Canadian Gas Association and formed a new organization called International Approval Services, Inc. (IAS). OSHA is requested to extend its existing recognition of A.G.A. Laboratories as a National Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) to cover IAS.
2. The Canadian Gas Association Approvals, Inc. is the Canadian partner in IAS. They are accredited by the Standards Council of Canada as a national testing laboratory. OSHA is requested to accept the Standards Council of Canada accreditation of CGA Approvals, Inc. and formally recognize the Canadian operations of IAS.
3. Since September 1990, A.G.A. Laboratories have requested that OSHA expand our recognition as a NRTL to include testing and certification of electrical and fuel oil appliances and accessories. OSHA is requested to act on this request and to extend the recognition to cover IAS.
Each of these requests is discussed in detail below:
I. FORMATION OF INTERNATIONAL APPROVAL SERVICES
For approximately seven years, the standards, certification and quality system registration programs of A.G.A Laboratories have been operated in close cooperation with similar programs conducted in Canada by the CGA Approvals Division. With experience gained from this cooperation, the American Gas Association and the Canadian Gas Association have entered into a joint venture and created an new organization called IAS to serve our common customer bases in North America and abroad. This new organization is a not-for-profit, non-stock corporation organized under the Delaware general corporation law. The joint venture is being operated by A.G.A. Laboratories and CGA Approvals, Inc. and exists to offer the following three major functions:
A. Standards Administration
IAS will act as the standards secretariat for the Canadian and U.S. national standards for gas appliances and accessories and co-secretariat with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for the National Fuel Gas Code. This function was previously provided by A.G.A. Laboratories for U.S. standards and by CGA Approvals, Inc. for Canadian standards. As IAS, these activities will be coordinated and the standard secretariat responsibilities shared to harmonize standards and to reduce administrative expenses.
B. Product Certification
IAS will provide product certification service for natural gas, propane, electric and fuel oil fired appliances and accessories. These services will be provided by the Cleveland, Los Angeles, Toronto and Vancouver facilities. With this arrangement, a manufacturer may obtain an A.G.A. and/or CGA certification in Canada or the United States through one certification test program conducted at any of the above facilities. All elements of the IAS certification program remain the same as were offered separately by A.G.A. Laboratories and CGA Approvals except that the services are now offered by four locations.
C. Registration of Quality Systems
IAS will provide quality system registration services in the gas and non-gas sectors. These services will be provided by the above four laboratories but coordinated by the Cleveland and Toronto facilities.
IAS Organizational Structure
The organizational structure for IAS is shown on Attachments I and II. It shows a U.S. operation, a Canadian operation and an administrative operation all reporting to a chief executive officer. The chief executive officer, in turn, reports to a joint venture governing board comprised of 15 gas utility executives, nine appointed by A.G.A. and six appointed by CGA. The presidents of both associations are ex-officio members of the council. Each member of the governing board is independent of the customers seeking services from IAS. For purposes of comparison, Attachments III and IV are provided that show the organizational structures of A.G.A. Laboratories and CGA Approvals prior to the joint venture.
IAS Control of the Certification Process and Marks
A. Each operation is authorized to issue both the A.G.A. and CGA certification marks based on test work performed at that laboratory. At the same time, control of the A.G.A. seal will remain with A.G.A. Control of the CGA seal will remain with CGA. A mutual, internal audit structure is established to maintain confidence that all test facilities are operating in accordance with procedures and requirements dictated by A.G.A., CGA, fourth- party accreditation bodies, insurance carriers and regulatory agencies.
B. Each operation will follow the policies and procedures of the other in conducting certification testing towards issuance of the others certification. These procedures include:
- Criteria for establishing test programs to meet applicable standards for all product types
- Criteria for selecting the number and type of test samples for the certification program
- Detailed description of test methods
- Documentation of certification report format and content
- Work procedures describing each step to be completed before each operation can issue the other's certification letter
C. Each operation will be responsible for its field corrective actions regardless of the operation that originally issued the certificates. All reports of field incidents received by one operation, involving products carrying certification of the other, will be reported to the other operation.
D. Factory inspections will be carried out by one operation on behalf of the other in accordance with its procedures.
E. U.S. operations will meet the criteria of the Criteria and Procedures for Accreditation of Certification Organizations, CAN- P3 and the General Requirements for the Accreditation of Calibration and Testing Laboratories, CAN-P4 in their product certification program. The Canadian operation will meet the criteria of the General Requirements for the competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories, ISO/IEC Guide 25 and the General Requirements for the Acceptance of Inspection Bodies, ISO/IEC Guide 39.
F. Management review of all audits shall verify results to ensure the continuous compliance of each operation's programs with established policies.
G. Each operation of the joint venture retains the legal liability for all certification activities carried out by the one operation on behalf of the other.
II. OSHA RECOGNITION OF A.G.A. LABORATORIES
A.G.A. Laboratories were recognized by OSHA on June 7, 1990 as an NRTL for testing and certification of new commercial and industrial liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or LP-gas) consuming appliances and accessories for the test standards listed in Federal Register Notice, Volume 55, No. 110, page 23315. Now that A.G.A. Laboratories are the U.S. operation of IAS, it is requested that the existing OSHA recognition be transferred to IAS. IAS believes this possible because no elements of the OSHA recognition program have been changed as a result of the formation of IAS.
III. OSHA RECOGNITION OF CGA APPROVALS, INC.
CGA Approvals was accredited by the Standards Council of Canada as a national testing laboratory on August 13, 1991 for gas- fired, electric, oil-fired and wood burning appliances and accessories. The scope of this accreditation includes the equivalent Canadian standards to those referenced in the Federal Register Notice cited above as amended in paragraph IV below for A.G.A. Laboratories. IAS requests that OSHA recognize the Standards Council of Canada's accreditation of CGA Approvals and transfer this recognition to IAS.
IV. OSHA EXPANDED RECOGNITION OF A.G.A. LABORATORIES
On September 9, 1990, A.G.A. Laboratories requested OSHA to expand their recognition to include testing and certification of electrical and fuel oil appliances and accessories. In separate letters on February 15, 1991 and April 11, 1991, A.G.A. Laboratories reiterated their request. On May 23, 1991, an OSHA team completed its on-site survey and provided a favorable report. Since that time, A.G.A. Laboratories have not heard from OSHA on this matter. A.G.A. Laboratories request that OSHA act on this open request and provide this formal expanded recognition as part of the IAS requests. To our knowledge, all of OSHA's requirements have been satisfactorily fulfilled.
If you need any additional information to process these requests or would like me to visit OSHA to provide further explanations, please give me a call at (216) 524-4990.
Spencer P. Grieco
Vice President, U.S. Operations