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Lighting Compliance: One Body to Rule Them All?

Lighting Compliance: One Body to Rule Them All?

In a recent episode of the Get a Grip on Lighting podcast, Greg Ehrich and Michael Colligan brought up compliance fatigue. The hosts spent a substantial amount of time discussing a need for one body to rule over the industry. And they didn’t limit to US compliance; they went global.  Is there truth to this?

Who would know better than someone who helps companies become globally compliant?

John Allen is the President of Product Safety Consulting, Inc. His company exists to help companies’ products pass the test. They are among the few that know all of the standards and, more importantly, how to decode them.

Allen is also the president of the Product Safety Engineering Society. The IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society focuses on the theory, design, development and practical implementation of product safety engineering methodologies and techniques for equipment and devices. However, he was quick to point out that even an organization as large as this is missing a lighting track.

With so many standards in so many countries, Allen thinks it might not be a bad idea for there to be one standard. That would require one governing body. “Global has become cumbersome,” he says. “Trade barriers have become an issue.  For instance, in China, all testing must be done in China.”

He adds that each country has its own underwriter laboratory, which makes it difficult for a product to pass the test. For example, just because it passes in China doesn’t mean it will pass in Germany. Allen’s company is designed to make sure your product will pass in each country. He is a certified “decoder.”

But what if there was one governing body? Allen says there is, sort of. He points to the IECEE CB Scheme – an international system for mutual acceptance of test reports and certificates dealing with the safety of electrical and electronic components, equipment and products. However, the program only works with as many manufacturers participating as possible.

Ultimately, the question is, why should we care? The answer is this: Any instance in which a manufacturer can save time and money getting certifications in one place, costs are cut, which could in turn trickle down to the consumer.

In the United States, companies must already deal with multiple governing bodies to get their product online. When you add in the cost of each country’s “testing” you tend to see the smaller companies stay away from globalization. As a result, you find less competition and higher prices.

Streamlining the compliance process will not only result in cost-savings for the end-user, but having global compliance standards will help to ensure the safety, quality and consistency of lighting products all over the world.

Will there ever be one global regulatory committee? It seems it is certainly being discussed but is very much a work in progress.

Do you think consolidating the lighting regulatory bodies is a good idea? Tell us in the comments below.

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Diane Duenez

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