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Typical Terminology Used in Compliance Documents
Arc Flash
An event that occurs during a short circuit of electrical components caused when a circuit breaker trips or when two powered conductors come together.
Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ)
The organization, office or individual responsible for approving equipment, materials, an installation or a procedure. The phrase "authority having jurisdiction" is used in NFPA documents in a broad manner since jurisdictions and approval agencies vary, as do their responsibilities. Where public safety is primary, the AHJ may be a federal, state, local or other regional department. Or, it may be an individual such as a fire chief, fire marshal, chief of a fire prevention bureau, labor department or health department. Others include building official, electrical inspector or others having statutory authority. For insurance purposes, an insurance inspection department, rating bureau or other insurance company representative may be the authority having jurisdiction. In many circumstances, the property owner or his or her designated agent assumes the role of the authority having jurisdiction. At government installations, the commanding officer or departmental official may be the authority having jurisdiction.
Batch Lot Inspection and Testing
The process where samples of like items are taken from a batch or lot in a specified quantity, then processed (inspected, tested or evaluated) and analyzed to determine if (statistically) the batch or lot is deemed acceptable. ANSI/ASQC Z1.4 "Sampling Procedures and Tables for Inspection by Attributes" determines the quantities to be sampled and the level of certainty of an acceptable lot.
Certified, Listed, Classified or Recognized Products
Any electrical equipment that has been tested and evaluated by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) and is carried on a published list by such laboratory.
Critical Component
Electrical Safety Critical Parts are those electrical components or assemblies used in a power or safety circuit, and whose proper operation is critical to the safe performance of the system or circuit including but not limited to the following:
  • All electrical components acting as a protective device to interrupt current in an abnormal condition such as circuit breakers, circuit protectors, fuses, overload or thermal relays.
  • All components and wiring for the EMO system including power supply, EMO contactor or interrupting device and pushbuttons.
  • All hardware or firmware components and wiring for safety interlock circuits.
  • All devices that are in an area classified as a Hazardous Location must have the appropriate rating for the area (i.e., Class I Division I or Class I Division 2) unless listed as intrinsically safe.
  • Those components that upon evaluation present a risk of fire or shock in their use or application. These devices must be approved and used in accordance with their listing or the "conditions of acceptability" that is part of the component's recognition.

Note: it is possible and understood that like components can exist on equipment where one is required to be approved (listed) since it is used in a safety circuit or other as described above, and the other is not used in such a circuit. In these cases like components will be treated differently.

Emergency Main Off (EMO)
This is also known as Emergency Stop and Emergency Machine Off. A category 0 stop device that overrides all other controls to remove power from all control actuators and bring the equipment to a safe standby condition.
The process used to determine the conformance of an electrical product to the relevant product safety standard(s). Evaluation is part of the process for Listing, recognizing components and for "field evaluating" products.
Evaluated Mark
The mark or symbol applied by the third party evaluating company to indicate conformance to the relevant product safety standard(s). This mark is distinct from the mark or label applied to indicate a product is "Listed" or "recognized".
Electrical Equipment
Any device, appliance or machine that generates, conducts or utilizes electrical energy.
Field Evaluation Body (FEB)
An organization or part of an organization that performs Field Evaluations of electrical or other equipment.
Field Evaluation
The process used for one-of-a-kind, limited production; and used or modified products that are not listed or labeled under a full listing and certification program. The process is completed at the point of manufacturing, interim points of distribution, in the evaluating company's facilities, or at the final installation site or a combination of the above.
Field Inspection
The process where listed equipment has had some modifications completed after it left the point of manufacturing. Initiated by the AHJ, the listing agency is contacted by the manufacturer to complete an inspection to validate that the modifications did not impact the original listing. Upon completion, the original listing is reaffirmed.
Interrupting Rating (AIC)
A rating based on the highest root-mean-square (RMS) alternating current that the fuse or circuit breaker is required to interrupt under the conditions specified. The interrupting rating has no direct bearing on any current-limiting effect of the fuse or the circuit breaker.
A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth.
Grounded Conductor
A system or circuit conductor that is intentionally grounded.
Grounding Conductor
A conductor used to connect equipment or the grounded circuit of a wiring system to a grounding electrode or electrodes.
Ground Fault
An unintentional, electrically conducting connection between an ungrounded or grounded conductor of an electrical circuit and the normally non-current-carrying conductors, metallic enclosures, metallic raceways or metallic equipment.
Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI)
A device intended for the protection of personnel that functions to de-energize a circuit or portion thereof within an established period of time when a current to ground exceeds the values established for a Class A device. (Class A ground-fault circuit interrupters trip when the current to ground has a value in the range of 4 mA to 6 mA.)
Equipment or materials with an attached a label, symbol or other identifying mark of an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with product evaluation, that maintains periodic inspection of production of labeled equipment or materials, and by whose labeling the manufacturer indicates compliance with appropriate standards or performance in a specified manner.
Equipment, materials or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services, that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services, and whose listing states that the equipment, material, or services either meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose. (The means for identifying listed equipment may vary for each organization concerned with product evaluation, some of which do not recognize equipment as listed unless it is also labeled. Use of the system employed by the listing organization allows the authority having jurisdiction to identify a listed product.)
Modified Equipment
Electrical products that have been listed or recognized but have had changes in design, components or construction after leaving the point of manufacture from the original manufactured and certified product. Equipment that is being used in an application different than the intended design as evidenced by the listing or recognition.
Nationally Recognized Standards

Standards published by any nationally recognized standard development organization (SDO) and nationally recognized engineering societies. Most of these standards are also established as "American National Standards" by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Insulated Cable Engineers Association (ICEA)
  • Canadian Standards Association (gas) (CSA)

Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL)
An NRTL is recognized by Federal OSHA to perform testing per nationally recognized standards and to certify products as stipulated in the Federal Register.

Any current in excess of the rated current of the equipment or the rated ampacity (current-carrying capacity) of the conductor. It may result from overload, short circuit or ground fault.
Overload [NFPA]
Operation of equipment in excess of normal, full load rating or of a conductor in excess of rated ampacity that, when it persists for a sufficient length of time, would cause damage or dangerous overheating. A fault, such as a short circuit or ground fault, is not an overload.
Qualified Person
One who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training on the hazards involved. (Refer to NFPA 70E-2004, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, for electrical safety training requirements.)
Recognized Components
These are devices, assemblies and subassemblies that have not completed all the required inspections and testing to be listed. Recognized components are incomplete or restricted in performance capabilities so as not to warrant their use as field-installed components. These components are partially complete and must have additional inspections, testing and evaluation completed in the final end use equipment for the applied use. Recognized components have Conditions of Acceptability that need to be incorporated into the design, application and final product evaluation.
Short Circuit
An unintentional, electrically conducting connection between two or more ungrounded conductors or ungrounded and grounded conductor(s) creating an electrical circuit of very low impedance resulting in a very high fault current.
Standards that are issued by state and federal government agencies and are "Nationally Recognized" may apply in special cases. Standards that do not include an explicit application reference to U. S. model codes (i.e., those published by the IEC) are acceptable only if the standard or applicable part can be shown to be equal to or more stringent than the applicable nationally recognized standards.
Statement of Conformity
Mark, logo, certificate, label or other mechanism by which the FEB identifies an individual product or system that has been evaluated resulting in a successful demonstration that specified requirements have been fulfilled.
Supplementary Protector
An overcurrent device used primarily for overload protection and is applied in the secondary of control circuits or for appliances. Supplementary protectors are not suitable for use as branch circuit protection.
Unlabeled or Unlisted Equipment
Equipment that does not have any evidence of listing or recognition as evidenced by a label or mark of a recognized testing agency recognized by the AHJ.
Volatile Flammable Liquid
A flammable liquid having a flash point below 38°C (100°F), or a flammable liquid whose temperature is above its flash point, or a Class II combustible liquid that has a vapor pressure not exceeding 276 kPa (40 psia) at 38°C (100°F) and whose temperature is above its flash point.
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