Using voluntary safety standards
Many products are covered by voluntary safety standards, which set out minimum requirements for design features and performance requirements.
Stating that your product conforms with a recognised safety standard can be an excellent marketing tool to assure your customers that your products are safe.
Standards to use
In New Zealand, the preference is to use a New Zealand standard or Australia/New Zealand joint standard.
Search Standards New Zealand for the standards that may apply to your product. You can search by:
- relevant government or industry body
- International Classification for Standards (ICS) — this classifies standards into fields such as environment and health protection and safety, clothing industry, construction materials and building and domestic and commercial equipment.
If none of these standards apply, you can use international (ISO) or European (EN) standards. Ask Standards New Zealand if you need help.
Testing and accreditation
To comply with a safety standard, a product must pass all the tests specified in the standard. Testing must be done by a laboratory that's accredited by an internationally recognised accreditation body to carry out the testing to the specific standard.
This ensures that:
- testing is carried out to the same specification each time
- the results are reliable, and
- the certificate will be accepted by regulators.
The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) lists the accreditation bodies in other countries and the logos to look for.
Getting your own testing done
If your supplier can't provide you with a full certificate of compliance, you can have a sample tested by an accredited laboratory.
To find a facility that is accredited for testing to a standard:
- in New Zealand, use the International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) directory(external link)
- overseas, search the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)(external link).
For more information about international accreditation, see:
Checking that a certificate of compliance is valid
If your supplier provides a certificate of compliance, check it carefully.
A single page document is not a valid test certificate — a valid certificate must include:
- the specific make and model of that particular product (not a range of products)
- a photo that matches the product
- a complete list of all the clauses in the standard, with a pass mark next to all that apply to the product, and
- the logo of an internationally recognised accreditation body.
Tests carried out by an accredited laboratory in New Zealand should carry the IANZ logo:
You can often search an accreditation body's website to find out whether a laboratory that has issued a certificate is accredited for that test and who the authorised signatory was.
Some laboratories offer a search facility on their website where you can enter the certificate number and see the genuine one to check a certificate isn't counterfeit. Check carefully for:
- signatures and stamps or other markings which are slightly misplaced
- poor quality printing
- different product or standard details on the certificate.
If this is not possible, contact the laboratory directly and ask if your certificate is genuine.
IANZ may also be able to help you check the authenticity of a certificate. They may charge a fee for this service.