By: John Rimac
Business Manager, Field Evaluations and Verifications, CSA Group
Unique circumstances sometimes make it challenging, impractical, or even impossible for manufacturers to undergo the regular certification process. However, demonstrating their commitment to product safety and compliance to safety requirements is still a top priority. Field evaluation services offer a solution. These one-time evaluation programs help manufacturers get products into the market when certification is not a viable option. It is important to note that field evaluation of electrical products or gas-fired appliances and equipment is not meant to be an alternative to regular certification.
As a publisher of CSA B149.3, SPE-1000 and SPE-3000 and with over 20 years of field evaluation experience, CSA Group has extensive technical expertise in evaluations and can help you identify, understand, and properly apply the applicable codes to help ensure project conformity with specific requirements. Our field evaluation services – known as special inspections in Canada – will perform all necessary testing to make sure your product meets applicable national and local safety and installation requirements. CSA inspection labels are applied to products upon successful completion of a field evaluation.
Knowing you have an experienced and reliable service provider with the right technical knowledge is only part of the equation. Understanding the reasons why field evaluation services are required is the other part. The following seven reasons can provide clarity and help you quickly identify if a field evaluation is right for your business:
#1 – Overseas equipment coming to North America
Are you a manufacturer of an uncertified product overseas? Then you may need a field evaluation before it can be sold in the North American market.
#2 – New technology that does not fit within a current standard
The global market continues to develop because of technological advances. As manufacturers continue developing products that incorporate new and increasingly advanced technologies for global markets, the safety design requirements set by standards may lag behind. Field evaluation programs help to bridge this gap by helping to establish product safety of new technology.
#3 – Product is out of scope from client current certification record (custom equipment)
Manufacturers may alter certified products for their client, however the alterations of a previously certified piece of equipment will invalidate the current certification. For example, when a manufacturer who produces control panels certified up to 120Volts, 100amps is asked by their client to produce a new control panel of higher voltage and amperage, and the manufacturer does not have certification for the new panels, a field evaluation can help achieve compliance.
#4 – Cost to produce versus units sold makes certification an unrealistic cost
If you are a manufacturer that produces very few of a certain product, then certification can be a costly process. A field evaluation can help you reduce any safety concerns without incurring significant costs.
#5 – Modified or repurposed equipment in the field or in their facility
Using altered or repurposed equipment is a common practice among companies across the globe, for economic and practical reasons. Companies often purchase equipment and then have qualified staff repair them for use, but this voids the equipment’s previous certification. A field evaluation is an efficient way to achieve compliance.
#6 – Required by an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – red tagged equipment
“Red tagged” means an AHJ has not accepted a piece of equipment. A field evaluation can help you meet compliance requirements.
#7 – Liability protection (insurance companies)
If your company requires evaluations and verifications within your corporate policy for insurance reasons, then a field evaluation can satisfy this requirement.
A service provider such as CSA Group can execute field evaluations from virtually anywhere in the world. Contact CSA Group today to learn more.