Commitment To Safety

How to Guarantee the Safety of Your Mobile Devices and You

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The carts, trays and other solutions you use for storing and charging mobile devices in your organization can become safety hazards if they are not well constructed.

If an individual attempts to climb onto a mobile device charging cart or step on a shelf within the unit, the cart may tip over. If someone touches the cart and another energized source simultaneously, he or she may receive an electrical shock if the chassis is not grounded to the electrical system properly. There is also potential for fire if the charging cart’s power strip overheats from overuse.

To safeguard against these types of hazards, you need to look for products that have been tested and certified to meet the industry’s most stringent safety standards.

Safety Standard UL 60950-1 for Information Technology Equipment

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standard for information technology equipment is UL 60950-1. The standard was developed by UL, a worldwide safety certification company. It outlines the specifications that manufacturers should follow to reduce the risk of fire, electrical shock or injury to users of their IT equipment.

The Canadian equivalent of this standard is CSA C22.2 No. 60950-1-07, developed by the CSA Group. The international equivalent is IEC60950-1, from the International Electrotechnical Commission (ICE).

To meet these safety standards, manufacturers can have their products tested and certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Lab (NRTL), such as UL or Intertek. An NRTL tests the products for flammability, shock hazards, surge protection, stability, durability and general safety – evaluating everything from the products’ electronics to the materials they are built with.

“The lab engineers test for potential hazards,” says Jim Fisher, Product Manager. “They will not certify any product that pose a risk to the user.”

How UL Certification Can Reduce Legal Liability

There are no federal or state mandates that require a mobile device storage and charging product be UL certified for the product to be manufactured, sold or used. However, certification by UL or another NRTL provides peace of mind that the product is safe for normal, every day use – and it also can reduce legal liability in the event of an accident.

Legal precedent has shown that if an organization purchases a UL certified product, and an individual is injured while using the product, typically the organization itself is not held liable – unless the product was being used in a way that wasn’t intended by the manufacturer.

Fully UL-Certified Products vs. Components of Products

Often, companies will state that their mobile device storage and charging products are UL certified when in fact, only the electrical components have been certified. In contrast, Bretford certifies its entire storage and charging product from top to bottom.

“Although the electronics provide the greatest potential for fire and shock hazards, a 200-pound cart made of steel and other materials presents additional hazards to the user,” Fisher says.

“This is where additional tests, such as overall grounding and stability tests, provide an extra level of safety for our customers. The grounding tests ensure the chassis is grounded to the electrical system properly, while stability tests ensure our carts are safe and won’t tip over while moving or when additional weight is added.”

Verifying Product Certification

When choosing a mobile device storage and charging solution, you should select one that is UL 60950-1 certified to protect your organization, employees and users.

Here are four key questions to ask the manufacturer to ensure the product is fully certified:

Is the entire product certified, or only certain components? If only the power strip or other electrical components have been certified, then your staff or customers might still be at risk of injury – and your organization might still be liable in the event of an accident. Make sure the entire product you are buying has been certified by an NRTL.

Which Nationally Recognized Testing Lab evaluated the product? The manufacturer should be able to tell you which ANSI-approved NRTL completed the safety testing and certification of its products, such as UL, Intertek, or CSA. If a product contains the “ETL Listed” mark, it was tested and certified by Intertek.

Is the product listed to UL 60950-1? NRTLs maintain online directories of the products they have certified. Check the appropriate online directory to make sure the entire device is listed, not just select components. The directories will show the product model number as listed or certified to the safety standard.

Can you provide the Certificate of Compliance for this product? The manufacturer should be able to provide its compliance certificate for a particular product. This certificate shows that a specific NRTL tested and certified the product, in its entirety, to UL 60950-1.

The Bottom Line

ANSI/UL 60950-1 offers organizations a safety standard they can rely on to help provide a risk-free environment for their employees and customers.

When choosing a mobile device storage and charging solution, make sure you choose a product that has been fully certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Lab to this standard.

Bretford’s full line of Store & Charge products are certified in their entirety to UL 60950-1, ensuring safety for your organization, employees and users.

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