“The SABS is aware that there are numerous manufacturers in possession of SABS test reports which they use as evidence that their products are ‘SABS Approved’ and it is important for consumers to understand that ‘SABS Approved’ can only be claimed by a manufacturer if the products are actually certified by the SABS,” says Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator of the SABS.

“We conduct a range of tests against South African National Standards (SANS), as well as customer specific requirements and/or testing against compulsory specifications that may be issued for certain product categories.”  

The SABS offers certification schemes for both products and/or systems that comply with the SANS or a relevant Mark scheme/systems scheme. Additionally, many products undergo more frequent testing and conformity assessments to earn their status which allows them to use the ‘SABS Approved’ mark on their product. 

The SABS’ testing and certification services are offered independently, meaning that the SABS attains and maintains an accreditation status in order to offer the testing and certification services.  In some cases, where the SABS uses third party laboratories – the laboratories need to meet stringent requirements and are subject to assessments and inspection by the SABS.

“The SABS laboratory test report is a report of the performance of that product against requirements of a standard or other client specific requirements, and this does not indicate that the product is ‘SABS Approved’ in any way. A SABS permit to apply the Certification Mark is a more comprehensive statement of quality assurance of the product or system,” says Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator of the SABS.

Testing is just one of the requirements in the complete SABS certification process.

Beyond testing

The testing of products and systems is essential to determine whether performance meets specified requirements of the standard and this is done in controlled and simulated environments. Test reports provide information about a product at the time of testing and are limited to the very sample tested. Test reports do not imply that all the same/ similar products also comply or would pass the testing requirements. 

Conformity assessment testing assists manufacturers during their product development phases to ensure that relevant modifications or enhancements can be made to meet specified criteria as well as to boost the quality of the product.  Retailers and consumers are more likely to sell and buy goods and services that have been tested and have successfully passed testing to SANS or specific requirements.

Why testing doesn’t provide the same assurance as certification?

There are a number of reasons for this which include:

“A SABS test report reflects the results of specific conditions for a particular sample only and it is irresponsible for a manufacturer to claim that a SABS test report is an endorsement of the quality of the product.  In cases where retailers only require test reports in order to sell products, this is usually accompanied by frequent testing and surveillance requests.  

“Testing is required, however certification of products and management systems is a more reliable and comprehensive measure of quality,” explains Jodi.

SABS recommends certification

“The SABS Mark Scheme, commonly referred to as ‘SABS Approved’, is a certification scheme that provides confidence in the quality of the products and the production processes to manufacture the product. Samples are collected from a production facility and retail outlets (where relevant), over different periods in a three year cycle by the SABS to ensure that quality products are produced all the time. 

“Samples are collected independently and unscheduled inspections at facilities are done to add to the assurance of quality products being produced,” states Jodi.

Clients need to specifically apply for certification at the SABS. Should a client be successful in obtaining a permit to apply the ‘SABS Approved’ trademark to their products, the assessment of the production facilities will be undertaken in accordance to the requirements of SANS/ISO 9001: quality management systems.

In cases where products are considered high risk, for example where raw materials used in the production process are unstable or where there is a high consumer danger, the SABS works with the customer and regulatory authorities to impose and implement additional consumer safety measures such as:  

Partner of choice

For all clients that are looking to test their product or to have their products or systems certified, they should consult the SABS.  Firstly, as the custodian for the development and maintenance of all South African National Standards, it is the logical place to start in order to conduct a self-assessment for quality requirements.  

Should products and/or the implementation of systems be at an advanced level, the SABS is able to offer quotations for independent assessments and for consideration for certification.

“For seven decades, the SABS has been working with industries, regulators, consumer bodies, academics, manufacturers and consumers themselves to develop standards and to develop certification schemes that improve the overall quality of life for all communities.  ‘SABS Approved’ is a trusted brand and the SABS is committed to ensure that only deserving clients have the privilege and permit to apply the SABS certification Mark,” concludes Jodi.

One Response

  1. In my maintenance engineering life, I have faced sales people and publications that state, “Tested by the SABS”.

    Yes, true, tested but failed! You are none the wiser if you do not ask, or demand proof.

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