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.

February 22, 1996

Keith Mowry
Manager - Accreditation &
International Affairs
Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
333 Pfingsten Road
Northbrook, Illinois 60062

Dear Mr. Mowry:

Thank you for your letter of September 8, 1995, regarding component evaluation and UL's MOU Third Party Test Data Program. I apologize for the delay in response, caused by a heavier than normal workload and the Federal Government shutdowns.

Regarding the component issue, you indicated that it was your understanding that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) policy required and audited the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories' (NRTLs') ability to make a complete evaluation of components in products they certify, including previously evaluated components, regardless of the party that makes the component evaluation. The issue concerning component evaluation is complex. The NRTL Program focuses on product certification and does not specifically address components; it concentrates on the end product. OSHA does not currently have sufficient resources to closely monitor the performance of each NRTL to ensure that it is able to evaluate every component that could be included in an end product for which the NRTL had been recognized. OSHA, however, does examine a NRTL's ability to evaluate components of products under the standards for which they have been accredited. It is the individual NRTL's responsibility to assure the suitability of each specific component in the end product.

With regard to UL's Third Party Test Data Program (TPTDP), you requested a letter indicating that the TPTDP complies with NRTL criteria and that the use of test data from organizations that fall under the program complies with NRTL criteria. OSHA currently will accept any arrangements or agreements which comply with the NRTL program requirements. However, OSHA evaluated Underwriters Laboratories Inc.'s (UL's) programs and sites during a two-year period prior to the publication of the March 9 Federal Register notice. Many of UL's programs were not considered acceptable prior to this clarification. OSHA's assessment team focused primarily on determining types of programs and required control methods that could be considered acceptable within the scope of the NRTL standards. The team did not specifically examine each of the various arrangements under UL's TPTDP to the extent necessary for OSHA to issue a specific statement of compliance or non-compliance.

I hope this letter has clarified the above two issues. Please feel free to contact Al Abadir, Acting Director of the Office of NRTL Programs at (202) 219-7056, extension 117, should you have any further questions.


Stephen Mallinger
Acting Director
Directorate of Technical Support