Representatives of the Measurement, Control & Automation Association suggested changes to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program during an Oct. 22 stakeholder meeting. Recommendations included the creation of a single NRTL-approval mark and coalescing around ANSI and IEC standards.

Presenters from 10 organizations, including MCAA’s chairman Todd Lucey of Endress+Hauser, commented on ways to improve the NRTL program. According to an MCCA statement issued Dec. 11, the association commented specifically about a proposal to separate the testing and certification functions of NRTLs. MCAA suggested that this should require eliminating use of proprietary standards and coalescing around ANSI or IEC standards and requiring NRTL-approved certifying bodies to accept test data from NRTL-approved test laboratories.

Regarding Certification Marks, MCAA said there is confusion among customers about what to look for and that a single NRTL-approval mark might eliminate the confusion. “For hazardous-location products, a mark indicating conformity to IECEx would go a long way towards eliminating confusion,” according the MCAA statement. OSHA has already indicated its intention to accept IECEx testing and certification protocols.

OSHA is considering allowing NRTLs to adopt risk-based approaches to determine the frequency of factory inspections, according to the MCAA release. MCAA offers general support for this proposal provided it includes a floor and guidelines. Most of the current proposals for changes to the NRTL program focus on existing policies and would not address the more systemic changes MCAA sees as necessary, but those would likely require regulatory changes. MCAA said it believes its best efforts are in providing support and encouraging the rule change process.