With thousands of new respirators and medical devices in production due to COVID-19, who makes sure they meet safety standards and regulations? Independent testing laboratories provide these needed services. Due to the pandemic, they’re working overtime, helping manufacturers produce equipment for doctors, nurses, other frontline workers and even the rest of us.
We talked to one company, Intertek, about how it’s responding to the new reality. Intertek is one of the largest testers of consumer and industrial products in the world, with a network of more than 1,000 laboratories in over 100 countries. It’s had to adapt to increased demand—and requests for help from companies trying to keep their employees safe.
Meanwhile, the company has also adapted to the restrictions imposed by the lockdowns.
- Curbside pickup: With some customers unable to travel from their facilities—or even their homes—Intertek began sending out vans from its labs to pick up samples from manufacturers across the country.
- Virtual inspections: Some of Intertek’s inspections and audits involve sending employees out to manufacturers’ facilities. As these in-person inspections became more difficult, Intertek created a virtual program called InView, through which inspectors can video chat with customers and inspect products and workspaces remotely.
- Online training: With everyone stuck at home, Intertek has also faced a surge of requests for online and remote training courses. Led by the company’s experts, these courses cover everything from best practices to new standards to product safety pitfalls.
The last word: Intertek’s Vice President of Marketing, North America Derek Silva says, “Intertek has been testing products for more than 100 years to help ensure people’s health, safety and well-being. We recognized early on that our greatest contribution to fighting the pandemic was to keep doing what we do best, only faster and with greater flexibility for manufacturers.”