"CPSIA Conformity Certificates Can be Available Electronically The Consumer"
CPSIA Conformity Certificates Can be Available Electronically The Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted two frequently asked questions documents on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 20081: (i) an FAQ on the CPSIA’s expanded conformity certificate requirements, which also includes a sample certificate, and an FAQ on general requirements. FAQ for Conformity Certificates The CPSIA greatly increases the types of products that require testing and based on that testing, a certificate, or “supplier’s declaration of conformity,” for affected products manufactured on or after November 12, 2008. Except for children’s products, the testing requirements themselves have not changed (i.e. certification continues to be based on a “test” of each product or a “reasonable testing program”), but is now required for more products. However, most children’s products (intended or designed for children 12 and under) will eventually be subject to conformity certification based on third-party testing. The CPSC FAQ on conformity certification (either based on self-testing or third party testing2) offers new guidance on electronic certification as well as a sample certificate and instructions for filling it out. Highlights are as follows: Requirement That Certificate Accompany Shipment Can be Met Electronically CPSC states that electronic certificates can be used to satisfy the CPSIA requirement that conformity certificates accompany each affected product or shipment of products covered by the same certificate as long as the CPSC has “reasonable access” to the certificate electronically, it contains all of the information required by the CPSIA, and the following conditions are met regarding unique identifiers: The electronic certificate would have to be identified by a unique identifier that could be accessed via an Internet URL or other electronic means, provided that the URL or other electronic means and the unique identifier are created in advance and are available with the shipment. Requirement That Certificate is “Furnished” to Retailers/Distributors Can be Met Electronically The CPSC states that it believes that the CPSIA requirement that general conformity certificates be furnished to distributors and retailers of the product is satisfied as long as the distributors and retailers are provided a reasonable means to access the certificate. Certificates Do Not Need to Be Signed CPSC clarifies that conformity certificates do not need to be signed by the issuer(s) and that “issuing” the certificate satisfies the new law. “Sample” Conformity Certificate and Instructions The CPSC has again provided a “sample” certificate, which shows the information that must be included for a certification to be acceptable, but has added some additional instructions for filing it out, as follows: (1) Identification of the product. Describe the product covered by the certification in enough detail to match the certificate to each product it covers and no others. (2) Citation to each applicable CPSC product safety regulation. Identify separately each applicable rule, ban, standard or regulation under the acts administered by the CPSC that is applicable to the product and for which the product is being certified. (3) Foreign or domestic manufacturer. Provide the name, full mailing address, and telephone number of the foreign or domestic manufacturer of the product. (4) U.S. importer, if applicable. Provide the name, full mailing address, and telephone number of the U.S. importer, if applicable, of the product. This information may be omitted if the importer chooses to certify separately. (5) Private labeler, if applicable. Provide the name, full mailing address, and telephone number of any private labeler certifying the product. This information may be omitted if the private labeler chooses to certify separately. (6) Contact info for individual maintaining records of test results. Provide the name, full mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number of the person maintaining test records in support of the certification. (7) Date and place of manufacture. Provide the date(s) when the product was manufactured by at least month and year. For the place of manufacture, if different from the manufacturer’s address in item 3, provide at least the city and country or administrative region, of the place where the product was finally manufactured or assembled. If the same manufacturer operates more than one location in the same city, provide the street address of the factory. (8) Date and place of testing. Give the date of the tests or test report(s) on which certification is being based and the location(s) of the testing. (9) Third-party laboratory identification. If a third-party laboratory tested the product or conducted a testing program on which the certification is based, give the name, full mailing address and telephone number of the laboratory. The CPSC is moving away from using the terms “general conformity certificate” and “third-party testing/certification.” Regardless of whether the product requires third party testing (generally children’s products), the certificate itself is the same, except that if third party testing is involved, the identity of the third party test lab must be disclosed – see line (9) above). CPSC FAQs are available at http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.pdf