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Notice

QAI Laboratories, LTD.: Application for Recognition

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AGENCY:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

In this notice, OSHA announces the application of QAI Laboratories, LTD., for recognition as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) under 29 CFR 1910.7, and presents the Agency's preliminary finding to grant this recognition.

DATES:

Submit comments, information, and documents in response to this notice, or requests for an extension of time to make a submission, on or before September 29, 2014.

ADDRESSES:

Submit comments by any of the following methods:

1. Electronically: Submit comments and attachments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Follow the instructions online for making electronic submissions.

2. Facsimile: If submissions, including attachments, are not longer than 10 pages, commenters may fax them to the OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648.

3. Regular or express mail, hand delivery, or messenger (courier) service: Submit comments, requests, and any attachments to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2013-0017, Technical Data Center, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-2625, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-2350 (TTY number: (877) 889-5627). Note that security procedures may result in significant delays in receiving comments and other written materials by regular mail. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for information about security procedures concerning delivery of materials by express mail, hand delivery, or messenger service. The hours of operation for the OSHA Docket Office are 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m., e.t.

4. Instructions: All submissions must include the Agency name and the OSHA docket number (OSHA-2013-0017). OSHA places comments and other materials, including any personal information, in the public docket without revision, and these materials will be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. Therefore, the Agency cautions commenters about submitting statements they do not want made available to the public, or submitting comments that contain personal information (either about themselves or others) such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and medical data.

5. Docket: To read or download submissions or other material in the docket, go to http://www.regulations.gov or the OSHA Docket Office at the address above. All documents in the docket are listed in the http://www.regulations.gov index; however, some information (e.g., copyrighted material) is not publicly available to read or download through the Web site. All submissions, including copyrighted material, are available for inspection and copying at the OSHA Docket Office. Contact the OSHA Docket Office for assistance in locating docket submissions.

6. Extension of comment period: Submit requests for an extension of the comment period on or before September 29, 2014 to the Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3655, Washington, DC 20210, or by fax to (202) 693-1644.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Information regarding this notice is available from the following sources:

Press inquiries: Contact Mr. Frank Meilinger, Director, OSHA Office of Communications, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3647, Washington, DC 20210; telephone: (202) 693-1999; email: Meilinger.francis2@dol.gov.

General and technical information: Contact Mr. David W. Johnson, Director, Office of Technical Programs and Coordination Activities, Directorate of Technical Support and Emergency Management, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N-3655, Washington, DC 20210; phone: (202) 693-2110 or email: johnson.david.w@dol.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

Many of OSHA's workplace standards require that an NRTL approve (i.e., test and certify) certain types of equipment as safe for use in the workplace. NRTLs are independent laboratories that meet OSHA's requirements for performing safety testing and certification of products used in the workplace. To obtain and retain OSHA recognition, NRTLs must meet the requirements in the NRTL Program regulations at 29 CFR 1910.7. More specifically, to be recognized by OSHA, an organization must: (1) Have the appropriate capability to test, evaluate, and approve products to assure their safe use in the workplace; (2) be completely independent of employers subject to the tested equipment requirements, and manufacturers and vendors of products for which OSHA requires certification; (3) have internal programs that ensure proper control of the testing and certification process; and (4) have effective reporting and complaint handling procedures. Recognition is an acknowledgement by OSHA that the NRTL has the capability to perform independent safety testing and certification of the specific products covered within the NRTL's scope of recognition, and is not a delegation or grant of government authority. Recognition of an NRTL by OSHA also allows employers to use products certified by that NRTL to meet those OSHA standards that require product testing and certification.

The Agency processes applications for initial recognition following requirements in Appendix A of 29 CFR 1910.7. This appendix requires OSHA to publish two notices in the Federal Register in processing an application. In Start Printed Page 51622the first notice, OSHA announces the application, provides its preliminary finding, and solicits comments on its preliminary findings. In the second notice, the Agency provides its final decision on the application. These notices set forth the NRTL's scope of recognition.

II. Notice of the Application for Recognition

OSHA is providing notice that QAI Laboratories, LTD., (QAI) is applying for recognition as an NRTL. According to public information (see http://qai.org/​about-us/​), QAI states that it was founded in 1994 by a group of certification and testing experts, and it is an independent third-party testing, inspection and certification organization which serves the building industry, government and individuals with solutions through its in-house capabilities/services, and a world-wide network of qualified affiliates. In its application, QAI lists the current address of its headquarters as: QAI Laboratories, LTD., #16-211 Schoolhouse Street, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada V3K 4X9.

Each NRTL's scope of recognition has three elements: (1) The type of products the NRTL may test, with each type specified by its applicable test standard; (2) the recognized site(s) that have the technical capability to perform the product-testing and product-certification activities for the applicable test standards within the NRTL's scope of recognition; and (3) the supplemental program(s) that the NRTL may use, each of which allows the NRTL to rely on other parties to perform activities necessary for testing and certification. QAI applied for initial recognition as an NRTL on May 28, 2013. In its application, QAI requested recognition for three test standards, two sites, and one supplemental program (Exhibit 14-1—QAI Initial Application for Recognition). The following sections set forth the requested scope of recognition included in QAI's application.

A. Standards Requested for Recognition

Table 1 below lists the appropriate test standards found in QAI's application for testing and certification of products under the NRTL Program.

Table 1—Proposed List of Appropriate Test Standards for Inclusion in QAI's NRTL Scope of Recognition

Test standardTest standard title
UL 10BFire Tests of Door Assemblies.
UL 10CPositive Pressure Fire Tests of Door Assemblies.
UL 1598Luminaires.

The test standards listed above may be approved as U.S. test standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). However, for convenience, the Agency may use the designations of the standards-developing organization for the test standards instead of the ANSI designation. Under the NRTL Program's policy (see OSHA Instruction CPL 1-0.3, Appendix C, paragraph XIV), any NRTL recognized for a particular test standard may use either the proprietary version of the test standard or the ANSI version of that standard.

B. Sites Requested for Recognition

The addresses of QAI's sites included in its application for recognition as an NRTL are:

1. QAI Coquitlam, #16-211 Schoolhouse Street, Coquitlam, British Columbia, CANADA V3K 4X9; and

2. QAI Los Angeles, 8385 White Oak Avenue, Rancho Cucamonga, California 91730.

The NRTL Program requires that at least one of the recognized sites listed above have the capability to conduct the product-testing in accordance with the appropriate test standard for the equipment or material being tested and certified.

C. Supplemental Programs

The supplemental program listed in QAI's application for recognition as an NRTL includes:

Program 9: Acceptance of services other than testing or evaluation performed by subcontractors or agents (for calibration services only).

III. Preliminary Finding on the Application for Recognition as an NRTL

OSHA's NRTL Program recognition process involves a thorough analysis of an NRTL applicant's policies and procedures, and a comprehensive on-site review of the applicant's testing and certification activities to ensure that the applicant meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7. OSHA staff performed a detailed analysis of QAI's application packet and reviewed other pertinent information. One or more of the sites listed above have the capability to conduct testing and certification in accordance with requirements outlined in the test standard specifications for the test standards listed in Section II.A above. OSHA staff also performed a comprehensive on-site assessment of QAI's testing facilities on February 25, 2014, at QAI Coquitlam and February 26, 2014, at QAI Los Angeles. An overview of OSHA's assessment of the four requirements for recognition (i.e., capability, control procedures, independence, and creditable reports and complaint handling) is provided below.

A. Capability

Section 1910.7(b)(1) states that, for each specified item of equipment or material to be listed, labeled, or accepted, the NRTL must have the capability (including proper testing equipment and facilities, trained staff, written testing procedures, and calibration and quality-control programs) to perform appropriate testing. OSHA staff performed a detailed analysis of QAI's application packet and reviewed other pertinent information to assess its capabilities to perform test and certification activities. OSHA determined that QAI has demonstrated these capabilities through the following:

  • The QAI facility has adequate test areas and energy sources, and procedures for controlling incompatible activities.
  • QAI provided a detailed list of its testing equipment. Review of the application shows that the equipment listed is available and adequate for the standards for which it seeks recognition.
  • QAI has detailed procedures for conducting testing, review, and evaluation, and for capturing the test and other data required by the test standards for which it seeks recognition.
  • QAI has detailed procedures addressing the maintenance and calibration of equipment, and the types of records maintained for, or supporting laboratory activities.
  • QAI has sufficient qualified personnel to perform the proposed scope of testing based on their education, training, technical knowledge, and experience.
  • QAI has an adequate quality-control system in place to conduct internal audits, and track and resolve non-conformances.

OSHA's on-site assessment of QAI's facilities confirmed the capabilities described in its application packet. While the assessors found some non-conformances with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7, QAI addressed these Start Printed Page 51623issues sufficiently to meet the applicable NRTL requirements.

B. Control Procedures

Section 1910.7(b)(2) requires that the NRTL provide controls and services, to the extent necessary, for the particular equipment or material to be listed, labeled, or accepted. These controls and services include procedures for identifying the listed or labeled equipment or materials, inspections of production runs at factories to assure conformance with test standards, and field inspections to monitor and assure the proper use of identifying marks or labels. OSHA staff performed a detailed analysis of QAI's application packet and reviewed other pertinent information to assess its control procedures. OSHA determined that QAI has demonstrated these capabilities through the following:

  • QAI has a quality-control manual and detailed procedures to address the steps involved to list and certify products.
  • QAI has a registered certification mark.
  • QAI has certification procedures to address the authorization of certifications and audits of factory facilities. The audits apply to both the initial evaluations and the follow-up inspections of manufacturers' facilities.

OSHA's on-site assessment of QAI's facilities confirmed the control procedures described in its application packet. While the assessors found some non-conformances with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7, QAI addressed these issues sufficiently to meet the applicable NRTL requirements.

C. Independence

Section 1910.7(b)(3) requires that the NRTL be completely independent of employers that are subject to the testing requirements, and of any manufacturers or vendors of equipment or materials tested under the NRTL Program. OSHA has a policy for the independence of NRTLs that specifies the criteria used for determining whether an organization meets the above requirement (see OSHA Instruction CPL 1-0.3, Appendix C, paragraph V). This policy contains a non-exhaustive list of relationships that would cause an organization to fail to meet the specified criteria. OSHA staff performed a detailed analysis of QAI's application packet and reviewed other pertinent information to assess its independence. OSHA determined that QAI has demonstrated independence through the following:

  • QAI is a privately owned organization, and OSHA found no information regarding ownership that would qualify as a conflict under OSHA's independence policy.
  • QAI shows that it has none of the relationships described above or any other relationship that could subject it to undue influence when testing for product safety.

D. Credible Reports and Complaint Handling

Section 1910.7(b)(4) specifies that a NRTL must maintain effective procedures for producing credible findings and reports that are objective and free of bias. The NRTL must also have procedures for handling complaints and disputes under a fair and reasonable system. OSHA staff performed a detailed analysis of QAI's application packet and reviewed other pertinent information to assess its ability to produce credible results and handle complaints. OSHA determined that QAI has demonstrated these capabilities through the following:

  • QAI has detailed procedures describing the content of the test reports, and other detailed procedures describing the preparation and approval of these reports.
  • QAI has procedures for recording, analyzing, and processing complaints from users, manufacturers, and other parties in a fair manner.

OSHA's on-site assessment of QAI's facilities confirmed the creditable reports and complaint handling procedures described in its application packet. While the assessors found some non-conformances with the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7, QAI addressed these issues sufficiently to meet the applicable NRTL requirements.

OSHA's review of the application file and pertinent documentation, as well as the results of the on-site assessment, indicate that QAI can meet the requirements prescribed by 29 CFR 1910.7 for recognition as an NRTL for both of its sites. The OSHA staff, therefore, preliminarily recommended that the Assistant Secretary approve the application. This preliminary finding does not constitute an interim or temporary approval of QAI's application.

OSHA welcomes public comment as to whether QAI meets the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7 for recognition as an NRTL. Comments should consist of pertinent written documents and exhibits. Commenters needing more time to comment must submit a request in writing, stating the reasons for the request. Commenters must submit the written request for an extension on or before the comment due date. OSHA will limit any extension to 10 days unless the requester justifies a longer period. OSHA may deny a request for an extension if it is not adequately justified. To obtain or review copies of the publicly available information in QAI's application, including pertinent documents (e.g., exhibits), and all submitted comments, contact the Docket Office, Room N-2625, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, at the above address; these materials also are available online at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. OSHA-2013-0017.

OSHA staff will review all comments submitted to the docket in a timely manner and, after addressing the issues raised by these comments, will recommend to the Assistant Secretary whether to grant QAI's application for recognition as an NRTL. The Assistant Secretary will make the final decision on granting the application. In making this decision, the Assistant Secretary may undertake other proceedings prescribed in Appendix A to 29 CFR 1910.7. OSHA will publish a public notice of this final decision in the Federal Register.

IV. Authority and Signature

David Michaels, Ph.D., MPH, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20210, authorized the preparation of this notice. Accordingly, the Agency is issuing this notice pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 657(g)(2), Secretary of Labor's Order No. 1-2012 (77 FR 3912, Jan. 25, 2012), and 29 CFR 1910.7.

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Signed at Washington, DC, on August 25, 2014.

David Michaels,

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.

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[FR Doc. 2014-20591 Filed 8-28-14; 8:45 am]

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