NRTL requirements for user devices ???

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by mistrhat, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. mistrhat

    mistrhat New Member

    Messages:
    4
    I have a big problem at our new facility in MA. The local electrical inspector is telling us that all of our standard, plug-in-the-wall instruments and devices need to be NRTL rated, or otherwise listed/labeled. We are talking here about standard test boxes, such as oscilloscopes, small lab ovens, voltmeters, vacuum pumps ... all of the bench-top equipment found in a standard laboratory.

    I am a EE, not an electrician. I have been reading the NEC, which is from where (I believe) that the inspector derives his authorities. Everything I see in the NEC pertains to "Electrical Installations" ... not plug-in, bench-top, end-user equipment.

    Further, I have contacted many local laboratories (such as mine) and many local manufacturers of the sorts of gear we are talking about here ... and NONE of them have ever heard of such a requirement.

    Can anyone offer me any insights?? Has anyone any experience in this matter?
    Am I possibly right? .. That this is not within the jurisdiction of the electrical inspector since it does NOT involve Equipment or or pertaining to an Electrical Installation?

    All comments greatly appreciated. :eek:

    Ralph
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Don't know what NRTL is. Sounds like a testing lab? Most equipment you describe would likely have a UL or similar listing, if it is made in the US or imported for use in the US. I don't really see where an electrical inspector would be involved. This is more a matter for your insurance agent, and OSHA. In Massachusetts, who know!!!!!!!!
  3. mistrhat

    mistrhat New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Jimbo

    Thanks. Yes, I know that the question is a bit out of the everyday topic for remodeling guys, but I was thinking that some here still might have run into something like this.

    The NEC calls for "equipment" to be listed/labeled (that is, U.L listed, for example), or a NRTL (Nationally Rated Testing Laboratory). OHSA also calls for this. Equipment in the NEC refers to electrical installation components .. the parts you guys deal with daily.

    As I see it, the electrical inspector does not enforce OSHA .. he enforces the NEC, correct? The scope of the NEC is "electrical installations". Therefore, I have no idea what an electrical inspector would make comments on the instruments that one uses in a lab and whether they are listed/labeled or not.

    Again, if anyone can even steer me to an "expert" in this area, I would appreciate it. I need to be sure I am right before I challenge the inspector on this.

    Ralph
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Does you lab equipment NOT carry a UL or ETL listing??
  5. Phil H2

    Phil H2 New Member

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    Location:
    Tujunga, CA
    Why don't you call the manufactures of the equipment? They should be able to steer you in the right direction.

    By the way, it is Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories. UL, FM, CSA, and NSF are a couple of the NRTLs.
  6. Livin4Real

    Livin4Real New Member

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    192
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    So it sounds like the NRTL isn't an actual testing entity, just an "association" of actual testing agencies like UL, CSA, etc so I'm sure anything that goes in your facilty will meet one of the associated testing standards.
  7. mistrhat

    mistrhat New Member

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    4
    Oh yes ... thanks, it didn't sound right when I typed it .. it is Nationally Recognized Testing lab ...

    No, NRTLs come to a given unit by ACTUALLY inspecting, and modifying (as needed) each unit. (unless they are done in the manufacturing process). This was done to many of the several thousand pieces in our labs, by one of the major NRTL companies - at a huge cost and huge hassle. The problem we face now is on purchasing new equipment ... we now want to investigate this further before taking apart new test equipment.

    Regarding lab test equipment ... it is amazing to me how many people think that most of this stuff is UL Listed ... No Way!! Typical test and measurement stuff, or even pumps and ovens and such, are not UL unless they are manufactured by the largest of companies. (this is another fact that points me to the obviousness that this requirement of the electrical inspector is not proper.

    Ralph
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    That does surprise me. Many moons ago I worked for a manufacturer of small consumer electronic things ( telephones, answering machines) and we had to have a UL listing on those things. On the other hand, things like pumps or other equipment which is permanently installed, ie hard wired, I can see that they are not UL listed, and would be covered by the NEC on the install. Are you saying that your portable equipment like scopes, meters, whatever, is NOT UL or ETL listed?? That does surprise me.
  9. mistrhat

    mistrhat New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Absolutely! A good percentage of test and lab equipment available in the US is not UL or ETL listed. I also find it consistent that so many electricans are VERY surprised by this. Yet, it is very common. Next time you find yourself in a lab or small shop of some sort, look at an oven, amplifier, power supply, etc. Much of the stuff in not listed/labeled. Few people seem to know this. (I am not so sure the electrical inspector has any idea of what he asking for ...)

    Also, what you say about your experience in a manufacturing facility makes total sense to me, as your product was used by the general public, even in households. The liability risks are too large in the consumer sector, and manufacturers have to go UL.

    That being said, I can show you plenty of manufacturers in CT, RI, MA, and the entire US that make electronic, plug-in boxes that are not listed/labeled.

    Ralph

    take a look at some of your own plug-in stuff .. you might find one .. by the way .. the CE cert is meaningless.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2007
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