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Why Product Certification Matters

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Gouldian Finch | February 2, 2019
Why Product Certification Matters

Value-branded products are everywhere. New companies seem to pop up overnight. How to tell the quality from the questionable? The reliable vs. the risky? Product certification is one of your best tools.

Buying on price and availability can expose users to avoidable risk. Product certification lets you know that a product is safe and reliable. It’s a benchmark for product quality. A guidepost leading you to reliable manufacturers.

Reputable companies work to minimize and eliminate risk. Product certification demonstrates their commitment to quality and safety. It affirms that products have passed specific performance and quality assurance tests.

Government purchasing standards usually require product certification. Businesses, schools, and other groups are following suit. The availability of low-cost, quick-to-market products is increasing. Making it more important than ever to affirm product certification.

Product Certification Signals Quality & Safety

Many electronic devices are well-made and reliable. Many others are made using shortcuts. With quick profits in mind. It can be difficult to tell the difference. Product certification is an important clue.

Products without certification marks may function as intended. (For a while.) But they’re more likely to be cheaply produced. Uncertified products are more likely to be made from sub-standard components. Components that would fail product safety and quality standards if they had been submitted for testing.

Confirming that electronic and computing products are certified:

  • Safeguards health and safety
  • Protects productivity and profit
  • Ensures reliability
  • Guards against liability

Health and safety. Electronic devices that qualify for product certification are safer to use. They've been tested to meet the highest standards for protecting user health and safety.

Productivity & profit. According to OSHA, providing a safe work environment saves companies money. Safe workplaces are more productive. Employees are more comfortable. And motivation and morale are higher.

Work-related injuries and illnesses sap company resources. They increase workers' comp claims and retraining costs. They lead to lost work days and lower productivity. And they impair efficient delivery of products and services.

Liability. Using safety-certified products and components is often required by law. Government agencies are a case in point. Another example: the National Electrical Code (NEC), requires the use of UL listed products.

Product certification is a good idea even when it’s not required by law. Using a product tested and certified for safety reduces the risk of legal action. Product certification signals that a company has confidence in their product. And cares about customer safety. It protects against potential liability in the event an injured employee files suit.

Failing to use certified products can result in denial of insurance claims. Even when it’s not required by law. This can result in costly legal battles.

Reliability. Getting products certified is a lengthy, costly process. Certification marks identify whether a company is committed to the market. A certified product can be counted on to perform safely. It’s also a good bet that the company can be counted on for support, too. That’s important for ensuring reliable customer service in the long run.

NRTLs – The Product Certification Authorities

Meaningful product certifications come from legitimate, qualified test labs. This can be a government organization, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Most often, it’s a private, organization recognized as an authority in product safety.

Test labs are themselves “certified” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA assesses and qualifies these labs to be a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).

OSHA developed the  NRTL program to ensure that equipment was tested and certified for safe use in the workplace. This program oversees the certification of the certifiers. It ensures that these private-sector companies meet stringent requirements. These companies must:

·         Be capable of testing and evaluating equipment for conformance with appropriate test standards.

·         Provide adequate controls to identify certified products.

·         Conduct follow-up inspections of actual production.

·         Be independent of users, and manufacturers and vendors of the certified products.

·         Have effective procedures for producing its findings and for handling complaints and disputes.

Each NRTL offers a range of test standards. Each has its own unique registered certification mark(s). These marks designate compliance with the applicable safety test standards. The safety standards are developed by organizations like the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Reputable manufacturers submit the product to an NRTL for testing. After successful completion, they can use the certification mark. An NRTL certification mark on a product, packaging or related materials is a sign of quality and safety.

It’s important to note that OSHA’s authority is limited to employers. OSHA does not require makers or suppliers of products to obtain NRTL certification. But ethical, reputable and concerned companies usually do anyway. Especially when products require approval under OSHA standards. Some go above and beyond and certify non-OSHA required products for safe, reliable use.

OSHA currently recognizes 19 NRTLs. Among these are the familiar UL and TUV certifications. A certification mark from any of these organizations means that the product meets OSHA’s stringent requirements. It ensures buyers that it’s been tested by an accredited, competent and objective third party.

The range of possible product certifications is extensive. Key certification marks to look for on enterprise-grade technology products include the following: 

Certification Entity

Mark

Significance

UL

UL enclosed in a circle, with the U slightly higher than the L; May include C on left and US to the right of the circle; indicating certification in the US and Canada

Certification by this NRTL recognized testing organization is one of the most recognized symbols of electrical component safety.

TUVTUV mark

A blue circle around a triangular mark with the words TUV Rheinland, may include beside the circle a “c” (indicating accreditation to the Standards Counsel of Canada) and/or a “us” (indicating recognition as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory)

One of the largest and most well-established NRTLs, TUV certification marks reflect supplier commitment and confidence and independent confirmation for meeting the requirements of U.S. electrical safety standards.

FCCFCC mark

A capital F and concentric Cs

Certifies that the electromagnetic interference from the device is under limits approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

ICES003

No specific logo; signified by simple ICES003 text on product materials

 

The Canadian equivalent to FCC certification.

CECE mark

Stylized capital C E

Indicates conformity with health, safety and environmental protection standards for products sold in the EU.

CBCB mark

Capital CB

Symbolizes international acceptance for product safety test reports and certificates for electrical and electronic equipment, devices and components.

RoHSRoHS mark

Varies. Stylized RoHS lettering, often combined with a check mark symbol

Originated in the European Union, RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances; mark indicates compliance with restricted use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products.

WEEEWEEE mark

Illustrated crossed-out wheeled trash bin

Stands for European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive; indicates compliance with standards for the separate collection, treatment, recycling and recovery of electronic waste. Safeguards health in the long term by preventing environmental contaminants.

ErPErP Mark

Varies. Stylized ErP font, often using leaf symbols

An European Union directive for energy-using products also known as the Ecodesign Directive, the ErP mandates consistent EU-wide requirements for improving the environmental performance of energy-related products.

cUL / ULccUL mark

ULC enclosed in two circles, surrounded by the worlds “Listed by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada”

Compliance with standards and specifications for products having a bearing on fire, life safety and security, crime prevention, energy efficiency, environmental safety, security of assets and facilities, live working and workplace safety and other areas; accredited by the Standards Council of Canada

EPEAT Bronze/ Silver/ GoldEPEAT Bronze Silver Gold Mark

Green, bronze, silver or gold checkmark containing “epeat”

An environmental-standards certification, EPEAT-registered electronics meet dozens of environmental criteria. Bronze, silver and gold levels represent increasingly higher levels of compliance with optional criteria.

CoC

No specific logo; signified by simple CoC text on product materials

No specific logo; signified by simple CoC text on product materials

A “Certificate of Conformity” is required by many countries for import products, to ensure compliance with relevant technical regulations and national, regional or international standards of the country of import, protecting the health, safety and environment of citizens from substandard imported goods.

Energy StarEnergy Star mark

Light blue or black square with white script “energy” and star symbol; ENERGY STAR text often below.

An international standard for energy-efficient products originated by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPD), ENERGY STAR is a U.S government-backed symbol for energy efficiency that ensures simple, credible, and unbiased information that consumers and businesses can rely on to make well-informed decisions to help save money and protect the environment. 

ISO 9000/9001ISO 9000-9001 mark

Varies. Usually contains “ISO 9000/9001 Certified” text and often contains list of years qualified.

Indicates independent confirmation that organizations meet the requirements of ISO 9001, a standard for quality management systems designed

Product Certification and Safety

ViewSonic is dedicated to developing products that maximize safe use. We regularly assess products to understand their potential impact on user health and safety. From there we seek continuous improvement to promote comfort, health, and wellbeing.

At a minimum, ViewSonic products comply with all applicable state, federal and international laws. Often, we set our standards higher than those required by law. We ensure that our suppliers uphold our high standards for safety, quality, and performance.

All ViewSonic products are OSHA-approved and certified compliant with all applicable safety standards. ViewSonic product certifications come from leading NRTLs UL and/or TUV of North America. This includes ViewBoard interactive flat panels and large format displays. Desktop displays, projectors, and VDI clients.

TUV and UL product certifications ensure that every ViewSonic product is rigorously tested and safe to use in any conference room, classroom, auditorium, business, IT or consumer environment. All ViewSonic products are approved as required by the FCC for safe, efficient electromagnetic transmission.

ViewSonic products have earned a wide range of additional product certifications. These vary by product category, market, and other variables. Below is a roundup of key certifications and health and safety-related features for ViewSonic’s major product categories.

Digital Displays

All ViewSonic® displays are FCC approved and NRTL certified to meet OSHA safety standards. This includes ViewBoard® interactive flat panels, digital signage and other large format displays. Design features for safe, comfortable use include curved corners and shatterproof glass. Flicker-free mode, blue light filter and adjustable backlight.

Desktop Monitors

All ViewSonic desktop monitors are FCC-approved and NRTL certified to meet OSHA safety standards. We carefully design our desktop monitors for ergonomic comfort. Features include our adjustable, ergonomic stand to maximize comfort and minimize user muscle strain. Automatic brightness control (ABC) minimizes eyestrain.

Projectors

All ViewSonic projectors are FCC approved and NRTL certified to meet OSHA safety standards. They are RoHS compliant for the restriction of hazardous materials.

ViewSonic is committed to the immediate safety of those using our products. We are also deeply committed to protecting the long-term health of our planet and its inhabitants. As such, a majority of our products are certified to the highest U.S., European and international environmental standards. ViewSonic products conform to Energy Star, EPEAT, CE, CB, RoHS, WEEE, ErP and CoC mandates.

To maintain our high standards, ViewSonic regularly updates our quality management systems. We ensure continual compliance with current ISO 9001 standards and ISO-14001 standards for environmental management systems.

Safeguard Users: Confirm Product Certification

Your business or school district may not require the use of safety-certified products. Nonetheless, it makes good sense to protect users. Poor workmanship and failure to meet safety standards can jeopardize health and safety. It can expose your school or company to liability. It can decrease morale, and make users less productive. Using products certified by a nationally-recognized testing lab is an easy safeguard. For your users and your bottom line.