Product testing helps suppliers ensure that the products they supply in the Australian market meet mandatory safety standards and are able to meet any claims made about them.
Why products are tested
Product testing is one way of preventing unsafe products from entering the Australian market, and ensuring supplier responsibilities are met.
It is the responsibility of the supplier to ensure the products they supply:
- are not banned
- are free from defects
- meet mandatory safety standards
- meet any claims made about them.
See: Mandatory standards
To ensure your products comply with safety laws:
- conduct your own testing, using suitable in-house expertise and facilities
- commission a certification agency to assess products and provide written certification of compliance with safety standards. This enables you to use certification labelling on relevant products
- commission reliable, independent and preferably accredited laboratories to test products and issue you with test reports
- ask your suppliers for written evidence of safety compliance through third-party product certification or product testing, including copies of test reports, preferably from accredited test bodies or laboratories.
To meet the technical performance specifications in any standard, you may choose to arrange testing by independent, specialist testing bodies or laboratories.
Test laboratories and accreditation
When commissioning product testing, it may be preferable to use an accredited laboratory. Accredited laboratories are subject to regular and vigorous assessment by an independent agency, and in the event of a court case, reports from these laboratories may carry more credibility.
The National Association of Testing Authorities and its international counterparts provide strict independent assessments of, and accreditation for, competence in testing against specific safety standards.
It is not compulsory for test laboratories to carry accreditation.
Checking laboratory accreditation
If a laboratory is accredited to test for one standard, or part of a standard, it does not necessarily mean they are accredited to test for the whole standard, or a different standard.
It is vital to check for accreditation for the particular testing required, including all relevant parts of a standard.
When checking a test laboratory’s accreditation, remember to ask:
- what the accreditation covers
- what specific standards or parts of standards the laboratory is accredited to test for
- if the accreditation relates directly to the required testing
- for the accreditation reference number
- if the accreditation is current
- if the accreditation is limited and if so, how
- what other relevant details apply.
A guide to testing: product safety
Testing to product standards: Principles for test organisations