Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a world leader in advancing safety, announced a listing of suggested minimum criteria Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) should look for when evaluating a potential third party auditing firm‟s abilities in the alarm service provider space. UL’s announcement comes in anticipation of a September 14, 2011 OSHA-imposed deadline, in which OSHA will officially be removing NFPA 72 from its list of OSHA Accreditation standards.
According to the OSHA Federal Register Notice, “Such standards do not meet the NRTL Program‟s requirements for an „appropriate test standard,‟ i.e. the standards do not primarily specify testing requirements for particular types of products.” The significance of this action is that anybody who has relied on OSHA recognition as part of their acceptance criteria for third party listing organizations in the past will have to identify other appropriate methods for assessment.
It is important to note, the above change by OSHA does not affect the force of law with which NFPA 72 has been, and continues to be, adopted by jurisdictions across North America. Alarm monitoring companies, related business, and authorities still need to select a certifier best suited to protect their reputation and their constituents.
“As safety is UL‟s number one goal, we feel it‟s important to help provide clarity for AHJs and industry alike on minimum criteria necessary when evaluating potential third party auditing firms in the alarm service provider space.” states Robert Tockarshewsky, UL Life Safety & Security Industry Marketing Director. “Some organizations may have used NRTL designation as a sign that OSHA supports their ability to perform third party auditing of alarm service delivery; however in reality, NRTL designation by OSHA simply supports a company‟s capabilities (not their actual ability) to test alarm products.”
Bob Jamieson, UL Life Safety & Security Global Director of Commercial Operations, added, “We believe this is a tremendous opportunity for AHJs and the alarm industry as a whole to challenge third party alarm service auditing firms to provide transparency in their program details. The public‟s safety and an organization‟s reputation depend on it every day. Authorities Having Jurisdiction owe it to their constituents to have all the facts when making critical life safety decisions.”
UL continues to be the leading safety organization in this space. According to a recent data survey conducted by independent market research group MSRI, UL has unaided brand recognition with North American AHJs of 98%, and of this group, 92% of them state they need no other further explanation after being provided a UL Certificate or Mark.”
UL‟s suggested minimum criteria for evaluating a potential auditing firm‟s capabilities in the alarm service provider space can be found on www.ul.com/alarmsystems. This information will provide guidance to Authorities Having Jurisdiction for what they can expect when presented with a UL Certificate for a monitored property.
“UL is the industry leader in the certificated systems auditing arena, and has been for almost 90 years. Authorities that accept anything less than the level of effort UL puts into its auditing of alarm service companies does their jurisdiction, and the people they serve, a disservice,” Jamieson noted