How to Avoid Store Opening Delays in Retail (pt. 2)

Part Two: Pursuing Certification
By Bruce Bohren, Primary Designated Engineer, UL

In Part One of this series, we discussed “red tagging,” which is when a local inspector does not allow a retail fixtures to be turned on because it is not up to code, and this may prevent the store from opening.  The best way to avoid red tagging and the delays associated with it is to have fixtures certified to Safety Standards before installation.  Safety Standards for commercial displays and furnishings include requirements to reduce the potential shock and fire hazard. They also look at personal injury hazards by evaluating if the product is stable and capable of holding the intended load. There are even tests to determine what may happen if a child tries to climb a display.

By requesting that the display is certified from the start, the display manufacturer can work with a certification company, like UL, during the design stage. This makes it less likely that delays will occur during the certification process.  Retailers also play an active role in making sure that displays are certified.  If retailers specify the lighting portion of the design, they can require that the components chosen have already been evaluated and certified for the intended use.

A component evaluation can take as long as and sometimes longer than an overall product evaluation and could cost even more. Even low voltage products, such as LED lighting components, should be certified, because they have the potential for hazard. A good example is tungsten halogen lamps; many of these run at low voltage and low electrical power, but they still generate a lot of heat and create a potential fire hazard.

Another way to avoid the dreaded red tag is to make sure your commercial supplier learns what the safety requirements are in the location of the store. While many commercial display manufacturers have expertise to work with wood, metal, and glass, they don’t have full knowledge of safety issues.  Some companies, such as UL, provide a training service to help the manufacturers better understand the safety requirements.

Of course, when you do run into a situation with a red tagged display, most companies offer a field evaluation service. These can be set up quickly. You need to be prepared to make modifications in the field if there are construction issues or testing issues. Once these are made,  the display will usually need to be re-inspected and possibly retested.

This means making sure the display has been evaluated for safety requirements before it sets foot into a store. This is the best way to avoid issues in the long run and protect your customers.

Contact UL today to learn more about how to avoid red tagging, and have displays inspected or certified.