Intertek, a national testing laboratory recognized by OSHA, announced this week that it will begin certifying alarm system equipment and components. The move gives alarm dealers and central station companies an option besides Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which had previously been considered the standard for large commercial security monitoring operations.
The program from Intertek, which is to be known as ETL Listed Alarm System Certification, indicates that the alarm system was properly installed and is being maintained -- and that it is subject to annual review by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (there are about 15 companies recognized by OSHA in this manner). The certification also indicates that the system meets federal, state and local codes.
For alarm installing and monitoring firms, the idea is that they would be recognized as an ETL listed station or firm (ETL is the certification mark that Intertek provides -- much like the UL mark from Underwriters Laboratories).
Intertek and other testing laboratories have faced a great deal of challenges in the market over the UL certification. Underwriters Laboratories is fairly unique in that both writes standards for equipment, and also can be hired by manufacturers and central stations as a certifying company. That has led to confusion, with some AHJs believing that alternative testing laboratories like Intertek aren't testing to the same standards as Underwriters Laboraties, when in fact, both are testing to the exact criteria -- whether those are ANSI-created standards, UL-written standards, or even NFPA codes.
"The launch of this program marks a new day in an industry that has long been underserved," said Tom Connaughton, Intertek's director of life safety and security services, when announcing the new program. "This industry deserves a choice, and we are going to provide the exceptional quality of service we have provided all of our clients across a wide range of industries for the past 100 years."
Alarm system dealers and central stations interested in Intertek's ETL-listed services can learn more at www.etl.com/lifesafety.