A guide to surveillance solutions suited for hazardous areas
This blog discusses four certifications to be aware of when specifying surveillance technology.
It’s important to stay on top of the latest regulations and certifications governing surveillance equipment to ensure your equipment performs as it should and comply with regulatory demands. In an increasingly connected market, this can also involve awareness of certification requirements worldwide that may directly or indirectly impact your operations.
Here are four key certifications and regulations to be aware of when selecting surveillance products for your organisation.
The NDAA was rolled out in the US in 2019. Section 889 specifies that surveillance solutions used by the US government, law enforcement and related agencies must be free from equipment and/or equipment components sourced from countries deemed to pose a risk to national security. This act affects China, and companies such as Huawei, Hikvision, and Dahua are specifically named.
The ‘component’ stipulation is worth noting, as this also applies to ‘non-banned’ companies whose products, e.g., cameras, may contain components manufacturers from the NDAA blacklist.
In a global market, the impact of NDAA extends well beyond the US. Any company tendering for contracts in the US must demonstrate compliance, as must any organisation under US ownership. Other countries are also implementing their own variations. For instance, in the UK, a policy launched at the end of 2022 prevented government departments from using surveillance cameras made by Chinese companies on sensitive sites, following concerns raised by MPs over cyber security.
The UKCA is a conformity mark introduced in 2021 following the UK’s exit from the EU to ensure the product meets UK safety standards and regulations. It replaces CE marking in certain circumstances and applies to product areas, including equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres, measuring instruments, pressure equipment and equipment for outdoor use.
Manufacturers’ products under these categories in Great Britain have until 31st December 2024 to make the switch. Organisations looking to buy these products must ensure that their manufacturers take the relevant steps to have the appropriate markings by this deadline. Otherwise, the products are likely to be rejected at the border.
IEC and IECEx certifications demonstrate that products conform to specified international standards. Electrical devices certified as compliant should perform, fit and work safely together, making it an essential certification for companies looking to implement an integrated surveillance solution with elements from multiple international vendors.
The IECEx certification specifically relates to equipment used in hazardous areas and explosive atmospheres, i.e., where gases, flammable liquids, combustible dusts, and vapours are likely and may cause a fire or explosion. While similar, this is not to be confused with ATEX certification, which also relates to hazardous area technology but is specific to Europe and is mandatory certification, i.e. law-driven rather than standard-driven.
A dedicated guide to monitoring and managing such environments can be found here.
For a surveillance camera or any other electrical device to hold a CSA mark, it must have been tested and certified by the CSA Group – an organisation headquartered in Canada classified as a Nationally Recognised Testing Laboratory (NRTL) by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the U.S.
A straight ‘CSA mark’ means a product has been tested to Canadian safety and performance standards. The addition of ‘us’, (CSAus) means it has also been tested to meet all American National Standards for security and performance – this particular certification being the result of an agreement between CSA and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), another Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) which is based in the U.S.
While neither marking is mandatory from a regulatory perspective, the levels of quality they indicate have made them virtually ubiquitous in this global region regarding surveillance specifications.
In addition to these technical certifications and requirements, other considerations regarding best practice design and usage can be just as important. One such area, certainly linked to NDAA compliance, is cyber security. This blog covers some of the most important measures to employ, and system features to look out for to keep your surveillance solution safe.