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the canto usa blog

What is an NRTL?

Jason Reeves

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August 28, 2018

OSHA’s Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) program plays an important role in making sure safety and quality standards are being met by manufacturers. There are nineteen laboratories that perform testing for companies. All laboratories are equal—none has precedence over the other. Each NRTL has standards they test for and offer their own special certification, which is then indicated with a sticker on the item as having been tested by that laboratory. What companies who use NRTLs do is send their products to the testing facilities that they choose to test with along with a fee. The laboratories push the products to extreme conditions to find out what their limitations are and to certify that they’ll be safe while being used in the field.

CantoUSA uses one particular NRTL service with our product lines, CSA Group Testing and Certification Inc. (CSA), which is UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.) recognized. CSA is regulated by the Standards Council of Canada as well as OSHA in the U.S. They provide safety and environmental certification services to a number of industries, one of which is energy and power. The big three NRTLs in North America (UL, CSA, and ETL) are equal in every sense of the word.  No one can specify one listing over another; that is illegal. The real difference between the three is that UL and CSA recognize each other’s standard of testing whereas ETL does their own testing, different from UL and CSA standard.  However, they are all acceptable.

The label that is provided on our products denotes one of three things:

  1. The CSA label with a “US” means it is certified for the United States only.  Same with UL or ETL.
  2. The CSA label with a “C” means it is certified for Canada only.  Same as UL or ETL.
  3. The CSA label with a “US and C” means it is certified for North America, Canada and the United States.  Same as UL and ETL.  

Our listing covers all of North America with “C CSA UL” as seen in the photograph.

There are construction tests on our LEDs & followspots to ensure there are no problems with the physical bodies of the units. CSA also conducts heat tests, putting products in extreme heat conditions to see what the limits are, as well as to see what conditions they do best under. They verify the wire size we use in all units to make sure cables are properly rated.

Once we’ve passed our tests and received certification, CSA conducts factory visits four times per year. They check production, components, work logs, and randomly sample units to confirm we’re adhering to what we submitted to them and didn’t make any changes.

We also do our EnergyStar Certification through CSA, but that’s a story for a different day!