Comments Submitted by Kevin Robinson (OSHA)

Third‐Party Programs to Assess Regulatory Compliance
Comments on Draft Report (DRAFT 9‐12‐12)
Submitted 10‐11‐12 and 10‐12‐12 by:
Kevin Robinson
Department of Labor – OSHA
Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory Program
Office of Technical Programs & Coordination Activities
Phone: 202 ‐693‐1911
 
After reviewing the report prepared by Ms. McAllister, there are a few factual errors that we would like
to correct about OSHA’s Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) Program. Specifically:
Pg 33 Paragraph 3: The last sentence currently reads: “ The NRTL then affixes a label…”. It should be
changed to read “The NRTL then authorizes the manufacturer to affix a label…”
Pg 35 Paragraph 1: The sentence reads “ Currently, 16 NRTLs are based in the United States, and three
NRTLs are based in other countries” should be changed to read “Currently, 15 NRTLs are recognized by
OSHA. Twelve are headquartered in the United States, and three are headquartered in other
countries.”
One additional comment came in yesterday afternoon that I wanted to share. While not specific to
OSHA’s NRTL Program, it is an area that OSHA has reviewed in great detail that we would like you to
consider during your final edits.
On page 7, Paragraph 2 states:
“Importantly, conformity assessment requirements impose costs, and those costs are higher in systems
that are more rigorous and independent. More complete and frequent conformity assessment adds
rigor, but it also increases the cost to the party required to demonstrate conformity. Similarly, the
involvement of a third party increases not just a system’s independence, but also its cost.”
There is no obvious source or basis for these statements, or the nature of the costs being described. We
believe the report should not make such statements without having a proper basis or clarifying the
nature of the costs. While we believe the report is only talking about the cost of conformity assessment
to the party that directly pays for it; it is not addressing the regulatory costs for the agencies that
regulate and monitor the CA system. In OSHA’s review of SDoC, what we found was that those making
claims that SDoC was cheaper than 3rd party systems had no credible evidence to support their claims,
and they were not taking regulatory costs into consideration. In fact, we found that the regulatory costs
of EU's SDoC system can be much greater for the than the costs of OSHA's NRTL Program, and the same
would be true for other programs, if they were structured similar to ours. Details of our findings can be
viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=OSHA‐2008‐0032‐0099. The Final notice in
this topic states “In the 2008 RFI, OSHA estimated that implementing an SDoC system in the U.S. could
cost the Agency approximately $360 million annually. In contrast, the current budget associated with
operating the NRTL Program is approximately $1 million per year. Based on this estimate, operating an
effective SDoC program would require OSHA to incur substantial additional costs.”