A recent briefing package on a firewalled lab application gives insight into the process. Such labs are a result of the CPSIA mandates for testing of certain product classes, but there was an allowance for companies to get labs they own accredited if they can show there would be equal assurance of safety and that there are procedures for independence.
The ballot (due March 14) was for the Montreal facility of Mattel-Mega Brands. The briefing package (bit.ly/2nEhAKg) explained steps in the review process:
- The lab applied via the agency's online application page (bit.ly/2mIZAik), including submission of "training material and other information" to show eligibility.
- The three members of CPSC's Firewalled Laboratory Review Committee each individually assessed the application and supporting documents. Then they met to discuss their findings. Their review covered five issue: valid and current accreditation (ILAC-MRA), sufficient documentation of methods for protecting against undue influence, clear explanations in lab manuals of the need to report attempts of undue influence and assurances of confidentiality, training documents on ensuring various aspects of the firewalled lab program, and organizational charts showing the placement of the lab within the larger organization.
- The panel came to agreement that the lab met the independence mandates for firewalled labs, which include that there are procedures not only for protecting against undue influence but that there are measures to ensure that such interference – or attempts to hide it – gets reported to CPSC and that the reporter's confidentiality is protected.
The agency's online list (bit.ly/2nEkf6O) of firewalled labs shows 31 approvals votes, all in 2010 to 2012. However, many early ballots involved multiple labs, so the number of facilities was over 50. PSL did not check if all still run.