Testing and Testing Laboratories
To comply with the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS), Responsible Suppliers must have evidence that equipment meets the Relevant Standard. Evidence is generally in the form of a test report.
Most testing is conducted by specialist laboratories. The specific testing requirements are based national or international standards. After testing, laboratories produce a test report. A test report should identify the product (type, model and batch number), the testing agency, the standards tested to, the tests conducted, the test results, and (if appropriate) the methodology used to conduct the test.
The Equipment Safety Rules provide guidance on choosing the relevant standard, acceptable test reports, and what information test reports should include.
Some test reports require ‘accreditation’. Accreditation of laboratories provides confidence the laboratory has quality systems in place to ensure test results are consistent, meet national standards, and is conducted correctly. The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Australian Government to accredit laboratories in Australia. A NATA accredited test report will have the NATA accreditation symbol on the front of the report.
The Equipment Safety Rules for In-scope electrical equipment Level 3, outline the acceptable accreditations of test laboratories, which are:
- Testing facilities in Australia and New Zealand accredited by either the Australian National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA), International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) or an ILAC MRA signatory.
- Testing facilities in other countries accredited by accreditation bodies that are signatories to the Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRAs) of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
- IECEE CB Scheme Testing Laboratories (CBTLs) accepted under the CB Scheme of the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components (IECEE). CB Test Reports are required to be accompanied by CB Test Certificates for all situations (full test reports, partial test reports, amendment test reports, etc.).
- Laboratories in other countries recognised for applicable tests under any Government to Government Free Trade or Mutual Recognition Agreements. The laboratory must also be accredited to test to the relevant standard.
Determining what type of test report is required
- For In-scope electrical equipment Level 1 and 2, testing can be conducted by any testing body or in-house test facility, but it is recommended to use an accredited testing body.
Note: For the purpose of gaining a voluntarily Certificate of Suitability for In-scope electrical equipment Level 1 and 2 from a certifier under the EESS, the test report used must be from an accredited testing laboratory as outline in the Equipment Safety Rules and meet all the requirements for certification.
- For In-scope Level 3 electrical equipment testing must be conducted by an accredited testing laboratory as outlined in the Equipment Safety Rules.
Ultimately, the supplier is responsible for proving the equipment they supply is electrically safe and meets legislative requirements, and as such, need to make an informed decision on the appropriate level of testing.
Identifying a laboratory to conduct tests
NATA provide a search facility on their website to locate accredited laboratories. Alternatively, Australia, through NATA, has Mutual Recognition Agreements with numerous countries that provide for the mutual recognition of Conformity Assessment Bodies (bodies deemed by both countries competent to assess products as conforming to the standards of the other country. Visit www.nata.com.au for more information.
Note: Not all laboratories hold accreditation for all standards. Although non-accredited reports may be acceptable for showing compliance for In-scope electrical equipment Level 1 and 2, they do not hold the same authority as an accredited report.