Safety firstJuly 7, 2016
Safety; it should be everyone’s number one priority. As an OEM, manufacturer, or third-party certifier, safety is top of mind for products that are being pushed to market – whether in the US or in the EU (European Union). As such, each product will have to meet the appropriate requirements.
These may include product safety testing and certifications such as UL, EMC, CE and VDE testing, possibly RoHS compliance or REACH regulation, or even functional testing requirements. This is all done to ensure that the end user can use the product for its intended purpose without concern. Let’s go through a couple of the heavy hitters:
- RoHS Compliance (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) is largely driven by consumer electronics waste – due to the large amount that is ending up landfills. RoHS compliance restricts the use of the following 6 substances: Lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). Manufacturers must consider paints, solders, PCB finishers/leads/interconnects, batteries and even integrated circuits to maintain this compliance. For more information on RoHS compliance, visit: rohsguide.com.
- REACH Regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) was implemented by the EU to improve the protection of human health, the impact on the environment, and to help reduce testing on animals that is posed by the use of chemicals – whether in our daily lives or at an industrial level. Companies need to be able to identify and manage the risks linked to substances they manufacture and market. Downstream users, like those who offer goods or services, play the role of implementing safe use of chemicals. Communicating relevant information in regards to paints, metals, adhesives, solvents and cleaning agents to their suppliers and customers will help in the long run. For more information on REACH regulations, visit: echa.europa.eu/regulations/reach.
- UL Compliance (Underwriters Laboratories Inc) writes and tests products for safety by having over 800 standards in place. They provide certification, validation, testing, inspection, auditing, advising, and training services to many companies including manufacturers of those products. Essentially, if a product is UL listed it has passed UL’s electrical safety test. For more information on UL certification, visit: ul.com
- CE Mark (French for Conformité Européene – or European Conformity) declares that the product meets European Union health, safety, and environmental requirements to ensure safety. It is described as a “passport” that allows manufacturers to sell the product within the EU without undergoing further product modification. For more information on CE marks, visit: gov.uk/guidance/ce-marking.
There are many ways to ensure safety standards are being met when it comes to bringing a product to market, but there are a few third-party certifiers – within the United States and the European Union – that are setting the bar.
Curious about a certain certification mark that you saw recently? Here is a helpful link to different examples you might see: https://technick.net/public/code/cp_dpage.php?aiocp_dp=guide_safetymarks