North American Certification

Preparing for North American Certification of Ex Products

The ETL Mark is proof of product compliance to North American safety standards. Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) and code officials across the US and Canada accept the ETL Listed Mark as proof of product compliance to published industry standards. Retail buyers accept it on products they're sourcing.

Certification of electrical products to be installed and used in hazardous locations is mandated by law in Canada and the US. For North American hazardous location (Hazloc) approval, a product must:

  • Comply with the safety requirements of relevant North American Standards (e.g., those of the Underwriters’ Laboratory [UL] and/or the Canadian Standards Association [CSA])
  • Be tested by an accredited, independent, third party testing agency (a lab with the approval of the NRTL (a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory) or approval of the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). The testing agency must certify that the product complies with applicable safety standards. 

What Standards Apply to Ex Products Seeking Certification?

Products requiring Hazardous Area (Hazloc) listing in North America must prove compliance with two types of Standards:

  • General, industrial safety Standards, referred to as “Ordinary Location” requirements
  • Hazardous Location requirements, specific to the nature of the hazardous location in which the product will be used

Ordinary Location Requirements

These requirements address risks associated with electrical shock, fire hazards and personal injury. Ordinary location requirements are specific for each type of electrical equipment. In other words, the requirements vary, depending on the nature of the equipment.  For instance, the Ordinary Location Standards for Process Control Equipment are UL 61010-1 or UL 916 for USA and CSA C22.2 no 61010-1 or CSA C22.2 no 142 for Canada.  Proving compliance with Ordinary Location Standards is not achieved through a self-certification as it is in Europe under the CE Marking scheme. Compliance with Ordinary Standards in North America can involve a significant amount of testing and assessment. 

Hazardous Location Requirements

A product to be installed and used in a hazardous location must comply with both ordinary location and hazardous locations requirements in accordance with the UL and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the United States and CSA Standards in Canada.  The requirements for installation in hazardous locations are spelled out in the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) in Canada and the National Electrical Code (NEC) in the US. The appropriate protection technique(s) that minimize or eliminate the risks inherent in the hazardous location must be included, for a product to be certified.

How are Hazardous Locations Classified in North America?

There are two main classification systems used in North America:  the Class/division system aThere are two main classification systems used in North America:  the Class/division system and the Zone System. Manufacturers of electrical equipment seeking North American certification may choose either or both of these systems. Dual markings help make a product more competitive.

Class/division System

In the Class/Division system, there are three Classes of hazardous locations and two Divisions for each Class.  The characteristics of each electrical product are further defined by its Group and its Temperature Class (e.g., T-1). An example of a product that has used the Class/division classification system is one marked as follows:

  • Class I, Division 1, Groups A, B, C, D

Zone System

The Zone system of classification for hazardous environments originated with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is now also commonly used in North America. An example of a product that has used the Zone system of classification is one marked as follows:

  • Class I, Zone 0, AEx ia IIC T4 Ga or Zone 0, AEx ia IIC T4 Ga

How can KSC help you prepare for North American Certification of Ex Products?

KSC can definitely help you prepare your product for North American certification.  We can review your designs and compare them to UL and/or CSA Standards before you submit them to the certification agency. In this way, you can anticipate the requirements for North America and adjust your design as needed to ensure compliance.  Spending this time upfront will save you time and money during the certification process.  We can help you ensure that certification takes place as efficiently as possible.

For more information, please contact.