‘Complies With’ vs ‘Certified To’

What exactly is the difference between a product that 'complies with' vs one that is 'certified to'?

It’s a common question when looking at the labels of product, and it’s usually in reference to a Standard: but what exactly does it mean? Let’s look a little deeper.

If a product is said to ‘comply with’ a Standard, it means that the manufacturer has possibly tested the product to a specific standard initially to verify it will meet the requirements of that Standard.

This testing may or may not have been conducted by a third party.

Whether the manufacturer then tests the product on an ongoing basis to verify that subsequent batches of manufacturing materials are consistent such that if the product was to be re-tested in the same way again it would pass this ongoing test process is optional. 

The Standard itself does not require on going testing, however the accreditation bodies do expect the accredited manufacturer to carry out batch testing of both finished goods and component parts.

Complying with a standard, is not the same as being certified to a standard. If you are unsure if an item has been tested by a third party, ask your manufacture to provide a testing certificate. This third party testing is typically referred to as ‘Type Testing’.

When a product has been ‘certified to’ a Standard, this means that a product has been specifically ‘Type Tested’ under the supervision of a third party, such that a product conformance mark is then able to be applied to the product.

Subsequent batches of these products are then also required to be tested to verify ongoing conformance with the standard. Therefore, this means that if a product carries a certification mark is likely to be more strictly assessed for its ongoing ability to meet Standards. In essence, it is a way for the manufacturer to provide a guarantee of quality. 

Examples of such certification marks are provided by SAI Global, BSI/Benchmark, Global Mark and others.

Whilst their company logos are different, it is the Standard that they refer to that is the key in assessing if the product is in conformance.

In principle, a conformance mark for a harness manufactured to ASNZS 1891.1 by SAI Global would be equal to a harness certified by BSI Benchmark.

In line with the ‘Objects of the Association’, the WAHA only supports manufacturing companies that pursue product testing and certification for their products as a sign of quality and commitment to the safety of those that use equipment.

Companies that manufacture, test and can prove conformance to the defined Standards through the issue of their own documentation (e.g. test certificates or statements of conformance based on testing in an ISO17032 accredited laboratory), are deemed in conformance, however the application of a conformance mark is an easier way for users to easily identify if the product is in compliance or not.


All manufacturers must ensure that they supply products with instructions, otherwise known as a ‘technical notice’.

Manufacturer’s instructions are the methods and procedures provided by a product manufacturer that must be followed to ensure that the product performs as expected in the conditions that it was tested to. If the manufacturer’s instructions aren’t followed, there is no guarantee that the product will work as expected.