( PR4US.com | Press Release | 2020-11-30 14:47:08 )
SGS, the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, is reminding consumers and manufacturers of the importance of ensuring their seasonal lights are safe and comply with the relevant rules enforced in the US.
Statistics produced by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that, on average, US fire departments respond to 160 house fires caused by Christmas trees every year, resulting in three deaths, fifteen injuries and USD 10 million in damage. The primary cause of these fires relates to electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
In the US, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that decorative seasonal lights present a risk of electric chock or fire if they do not exhibit one or more of the following “readily observable safety characteristics”:
• Minimum wire size
• Sufficient strain relief
• Overcurrent protection
Section 15(j) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) gives the CPSC the authority to determine a product as posing a ‘substantial product hazard’ if it has or does not have certain characteristics. While no mandatory safety standard for this product has been established, under section 15(b) of CPSA 15 U.S.C. 2064(b) they are subject to reporting requirements. If a manufacturer fails to report a ‘substantial product hazard’, they may be subject to civil penalties under section 20 of the CPSA and possible criminal penalties under section 21 of the CPSA 15 U.S.C. 2069, 2070. The product will also be subject to corrective actions under sections 15(c & d) of the CPSA 15 U.S.C. 2064(c & d) and the CPSC can demand the manufacturer, distributor or retailer offers repair, replacement or refund of the product. Consumer products that are deemed a ‘substantial product hazard’ will also be refused importation into the US under section 17(a) of the CPSA. 15 U.S.C. 2066(a).
The simplest way to ensure seasonal or decorative lights comply with the requirement for three “readily observable safety characteristics”, is to conform to the UL 588 Safety Standard for Seasonal and Holiday Decorative Products. This standard covers seasonal decorative lighting products and accessories for temporary use – installation and use not exceeding 90 days – with a maximum input voltage rating of 120 V to be used in accordance with the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70. It covers factory-assembled lighting strings with push-in, midget-screw, miniature-screw lamp holders, or non-replaceable lamps connected in series for across-the-line use or with candelabra- or intermediate-screw lamp holders connected in parallel for direct-connection use. The standard also covers a variety of other seasonal decorative products, including wreaths, stars and lighting sculptures. It does not cover strings of lights that use lamp holders that are larger than intermediate-screw and non-seasonal products. It also does not apply to portable electric lamps intended for general illumination with a seasonal decoration.
Sections 6, 7, 15, 71, 79 and SB15 of this standard cover minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, and overcurrent protection (fuses).
Compliance with this standard is not mandatory for domestic decorative lights, but it is advisable since it ensures accordance with the requirements relating to “readily observable safety characteristics.” It should also be noted that Christmas lights used in a commercial setting must conform to UL588 and be certified by a Nationally recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), such as SGS. This even applies to decorative lights that are sold for domestic use, but which are then used in a commercial environment.
SGS NRTL Services
SGS helps manufacturers and suppliers quickly and efficiently get their electrical and electronic (E&E) products onto markets in the US and Canada. As an NRTL, SGS can test and certify a wide range of products and, with E&E experts in over 20 laboratories worldwide, can help deliver innovative solutions to help get products onto North American markets in a minimal timeframe. Learn more about the SGS NRTL Services. [https://campaigns.sgs.com/en/consumer-goods-and-retail/sell-electrical-and-electronic-goods-to-north-america-with-nrtl-compliance-testing]
SGS Consumer Compact keeps you up to date with the latest news and developments in the consumer goods industry. Read the original article, Seasonal Lights Staying Safe at Christmas [www.sgs.com/en/news/2020/10/seasonal-lights-staying-safe-at-christmas]
Subscribe here, www.sgs.com/en/newsletters/global/consumer-compact, to receive SGS Consumer Compact direct to your inbox.
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SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.