Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs) will pay fees for review of their applications and audits of their facilities beginning Oct. 1, OSHA announced Friday.
Since 1997, Congress has authorized the agency to collect and retain fees for services provided to private sector laboratories that test and certify equipment used in the workplace and to use these fees to administer the NRTL program.
Last August, OSHA proposed charging testing laboratories it evaluates to determine whether they meet the agency''s criteria for recognition as NRTLs.
OSHA will charge fees for two types of services.
- 1) processing applications for the initial recognition of an organization as a NRTL, or for expansion or renewal of an existing NRTL''s recognition; and
- 2) performing audits (post recognition reviews) of NRTLs to determine whether they continue to meet requirements for recognition.
Since the inception of the NRTL program in 1988, OSHA has provided these services at no charge.
An organization applying for initial recognition as a NRTL must include both the application fee and on-site review fee with the application.
OSHA will bill NRTLs for audits and for certain assessments after they are conducted.
Currently there are 17 NRTLs operating 42 sites in the United States, Canada, Europe and the Far East.
The NRTL program has grown significantly in the past two years, both in terms of numbers of laboratories and sites and in the number of test standards each NRTL has been approved to certify, according to OSHA.
In addition to charging fees for its services, OSHA also is reducing the time allowed for public comment on Federal Register notices concerning recognition of a NRTL from 60 days to 30 days for initial recognition and to 15 days for expansions and renewals.
Reviewers of the notice can request an extension of the comment period if they need more time.
The new NRTL fees go into effect Oct. 1, 2000, and the public comment periods established by the final rule go into effect Aug. 30, 2000.
Information on fee schedules is included in today''s notice in the Federal Register.
by Virginia Sutcliffe