Making food equipment that’s sleek, functional, and up to the standards of the client is a challenging task, but just because you’ve devised a design plan and manufactured it, doesn’t mean your job is done yet. The food producers and facilities that use this equipment work under strict sanitary and safety regulations set by multiple agencies. This means that undergoing testing and achieving certifications from the right third-party laboratories makes things much easier when it’s time for facility and equipment health and safety inspections.
Screenshot via Intertek
When it comes to making OSHA, in particular, happy, it’s best to hold a certificate from Intertek-run, ETL. Although it’s a process that can be pricey and arduous, the certification will, ultimately, guarantee that the producer is using equipment with the safest features and mechanisms possible.
Let’s take a look at the necessary steps that everyone must take to obtain an ETL-certification on a new piece of equipment:
- Begin the process and receive a quote
- Submit the application
- Enter the product assessment phase
- Schedule follow-ups
- Undergo an initial factory assessment
- Prepare final materials
- Receive formal listing
- Attach the ETL mark
1. Begin the Process and Receive a Quote
Get started on the certification process by first preparing and providing these materials:
- Photographs of the product
- Product description with intended use
- Complete product specifications, including dimensions and material list
- Listing of any sub-assemblies which are already certified (provide as much official info as possible here)
- If available, a prototype or sample of the product
Another thing you must communicate is where the equipment is intended to be sold and used. For ETL Listed and ETL Sanitation, the certifications most often used for food equipment, the country will either be the United States or Canada.
Screenshot via Intertek, depicting ETL Listed Mark
Once ETL has received all of the above, the company will reply with a cost quote and an estimated completion date.
Note: if ETL cannot settle on a previously-arranged set of testing models, they will need to create a new one from scratch so that all OSHA standards are considered during the product’s review. In this case, the quote and/or completion date may be impacted considerably.
2. Submit the Application
The application, better known as the Product Information Pack, contains a series of forms, most notably the EURFC1-New Applicant Form. This must be completed along with any other requests found in the pack. Once this is finished, it must be sent back to ETL per their explicit instructions.
3. Enter the Product Assessment Phase
Now, it’s time to wait as ETL begins the testing of the foodservice equipment product. Upon completion of this phase, the lab will either pass you on to the next phase, or they will pause the testing so that the required adjustments can be made.
4. Schedule Follow-ups
Because OSHA’s standards apply to both the product and its processes as well as the facilities, a factory assessment must also be completed. Sometime during or soon after the product assessment phase, the service department at ETL will make contact to schedule the assessment.
5. Undergo an Initial Factory Assessment
The next step in the process is for ETL to perform the facility’s factory assessment. If both the product and factory are determined to be up to OSHA’s standards, then ETL will move ahead with the finalized listing report.
6. Prepare Final Materials
Now that both the factory assessment and finalized list report are completed and approved, it’s time to get the final materials in order. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Copies of the finalized listing report, the detailed factory assessment, and approved production line testing, if necessary
- The Certification Agreement, both signed and countersigned
- A copy of the ETL certification mark as it will appear on the product (more on this in step 8)
- Completed purchase orders and client information sheet
7. Receive Formal Listing
Once everything has been delivered on your end, ETL will issue a formal listing report. This will include information pertinent to the certification, including specifics on the original applicant, a product description, the standards that it was tested against, and all of the testing it’s required to undergo in the future.
8. Attach the ETL Mark
Now that the certification process is complete, it’s time to attach the ETL mark to the newly-certified equipment. Unless otherwise specified, OSHA requires the mark to be attached via an adhesive sticker, or it can be embossed directly onto the piece of equipment.
For this step, we suggest MPC’s ultra-durable custom labels or heavy-duty stickers. To find out more about what option will work best for your ETL mark label based on your equipment usage and facility conditions, click here.