Frequently Asked Questions
How does MSHA determine if a laboratory is qualified to test and evaluate a product?
The applicant must submit evidence that the laboratory has been recognized by an accrediting organization to test to the applicable safety standard. Such organizations include the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) National Recognized Testing Laboratory and the International Electrotechnical Commission IECEx Scheme.
How does MSHA ensure that products tested and evaluated by independent laboratories are as safe as products tested and evaluated by MSHA?
First, MSHA determines whether the laboratory is an independent laboratory and is qualified to test and evaluate the product to the applicable safety standard. Then MSHA reviews the laboratory’s test and evaluation results to ensure that they verify compliance with the standard. If there is any reason to question the results, MSHA will request additional information. MSHA also conducts annual audits on all such approved products.
What documentation must I submit to get a product approved based on independent laboratory test and evaluation?
The manufacturer must submit evidence of the laboratory's independence and current recognition by a laboratory accrediting organization; a complete technical explanation of how the product complies with each requirement in the applicable MSHA product approval requirements; identification of components or features of the product that are critical to the safety of the product; and all other documentation, including drawings and specifications, as submitted to the independent laboratory by the applicant.
Can I submit an independent laboratory test result for a single test and request that MSHA perform the other tests and evaluation?
Yes. MSHA will accept independent laboratory test and evaluation results for a complete product evaluation or any portion of the required tests and evaluations..
Will MSHA require the marking of the independent laboratory that performs testing and evaluation of my product for MSHA approval?
No. Only the MSHA marking will be required on products evaluated based on Part 6 requirements. However, this does not preclude the marking of an independent laboratory being placed on an MSHA approved product in addition to the MSHA marking.
How often will the approved product be audited?
MSHA will ask that you make your product available at a mutually agreeable site at no cost to MSHA no more than once a year, unless MSHA has reason to suspect a problem with the product.
What if I uncover a defect in one of the approved products?
You are required to notify MSHA if you become aware of any product defects.
How can I get my product approved to non-MSHA product safety standards?
MSHA must first evaluate the non-MSHA product safety standard to determine if it is equivalent. MSHA will compare the non-MSHA product safety standard to the applicable Title 30 Code of Federal Regulations (30 CFR) approval requirements and determine if it provides at least the same degree of protection as the applicable 30 CFR requirements. If it does, then it will be deemed equivalent. If it does not, then MSHA will determine if modifications can be made to the standard to make it equivalent. Once the equivalency determination has been made, MSHA will publish the decision in the Federal Register, along with any modifications that may be necessary to ensure that at least the same degree of protection is provided. A manufacturer could then apply for approval to that standard.
Can I request MSHA to review a particular non-MSHA product safety standard for equivalency?
Yes. MSHA will determine which standards to review based on industry demand and experience with that particular standard or group of standards. Insufficient demand for a non-MSHA product safety standard or inadequacy of the requirements of the requested standard may be grounds for delaying or denying a particular request.
Can I provide input to MSHA's equivalency evaluations?
Yes. Prior to conducting an equivalency determination, MSHA will publish its intent to review a standard or group of standards in the Federal Register for the purpose of seeking public input on the determination process. You will be given 60 days to provide your comments.