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.
For instance, if an individual tries to climb on top of a mobile device cart, or steps on a shelf to reach something high up, the cart might tip over onto them. If someone touches the cart and another energized source simultaneously, he or she might receive an electrical shock if the chassis is not grounded to the electrical system properly. Or, the cart’s power strip could overheat from too much use—potentially causing a fire.
To safeguard against these types of hazards, you should 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 prove they meet these 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 engineers look for almost any potential hazard, even whether it has sharp corners,” says Jim Fisher, Product Manager. “They won’t certify any products that are just inherently dangerous.”
How UL Certification Can Reduce Legal Liability
There are no federal or state mandates that say a mobile device charging and storage product must be UL certified in order to be used. But certification by UL or another NRTL provides peace of mind that the product is safe for every day use – and it also can reduce legal liability in the event of an accident.
“As litigious as our society is, there’s no telling who might be called into court if an accident happens,” Fisher says.
Legal precedent has shown that if an organization buys a product that is UL certified, and someone gets hurt 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 say their mobile device charging and storage products are UL certified when in reality only the electrical components have been certified. In contrast, Bretford certifies its entire storage and charging products 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, add 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.”
Bretford Takes Product Safety One Step Further
Besides making sure all products conform to UL 60950-1 and its international equivalents, Bretford also pursues environmental certifications for its products.
“All of our store & charge carts released in the last two years meet UL GREENGUARD Gold standards to protect our customers from harmful materials and chemicals,” Fisher says.
GREENGUARD standards limit the number of chemicals that are used in the manufacture of various products, and the GREENGUARD Gold standards offer even tighter restrictions to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and the elderly)—ensuring that a product is acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities.
Taken together, the UL 60950-1 and GREENGUARD Gold certifications “ensure that our customers have the best performing and safest products to store and charge their valuable computing assets,” Fisher says – products that “will not present a hazard.”
Verifying Product Certification
When choosing a mobile device storage and charging solution, you should select one that has been certified to UL 60950-1 to protect your organization. To make sure the product you’re choosing has been fully certified to meet this safety standard, here are four key questions to ask of the manufacturer:
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 whole device is listed, and not just certain 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 also should be able to provide its compliance certificate for a particular product. This certificate shows that a particular 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.
All of Bretford’s Store & Charge products have been certified in their entirety to UL 60950-1, as well as the GREENGUARD Gold standard for environmental safety.