Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (10/26/1990)

Fastener Quality Act - Requires the Secretary of Commerce to waive the requirements of this Act for any category of fastener (screw, nut, bolt, stud, or washer) that is not used in critical applications. Authorizes the Secretary to include items serving functions similar to fasteners that are used in critical applications within the definition of fasteners under this Act. Prohibits the offering for sale or sale in commerce of any fastener unless it is part of a lot which: (1) conforms to standards and specifications represented by the manufacturer; and (2) has been inspected, tested, and certified according to this Act. Sets forth special rules for small lots.

Requires manufacturers to have a fastener lot sample inspected by a laboratory accredited under an approved system. Allows inspection by a laboratory owned or affiliated with the manufacturer if it is so accredited, unless the Secretary finds, as to a specific type of fastener and type of inspection or testing, that a ban on manufacturer ownership or affiliation would increase protection of health and safety of the public or industrial workers.

Requires the laboratory, upon determination of conformance with the appropriate standards and specifications, to provide the manufacturer inspection and testing reports with respect to such lot.

Directs the Secretary, through the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to issue regulations to include: (1) procedures for the accreditation of laboratories engaged in the inspection and testing of fasteners; (2) conditions, using the requirements of consensus documents to govern the operation of accreditation bodies, under which private entities may apply for approval to engage in the accreditation of laboratories; and (3) conditions under which the accreditation of foreign laboratories by their governments or organizations recognized by the Director shall be deemed to satisfy laboratory accreditation requirements. Limits accreditation to three years.

Authorizes the Director to hire contractors as necessary to carry out the accreditation program. Requires costs for the establishment and operation of the program to be fully reimbursable through fees or other charges for accreditation services.

Directs the Secretary to ensure that private accrediting entities and laboratories accredited by such entities or by foreign governments comply with conditions and requirements in this Act.

Requires the Director to periodically transmit recommendations to consensus standards organizations.

Prohibits any manufacturer from selling any shipment of fasteners manufactured in the United States (except fasteners for which this Act's requirements are waived) unless delivery is accompanied by a written certificate that states that the fasteners have been inspected and tested by an accredited laboratory and that an original laboratory testing report is on file with the manufacturer.

Makes it unlawful for any person to sell to any importer, and for any importer to purchase, any shipment of fasteners manufactured outside the United States unless such shipment is accompanied by the manufacturer's certificate, an original laboratory testing report, and any other lot identification information. Waives the requirement that shipments of fasteners to importers be accompanied by an original laboratory testing report in the case of fasteners imported into the United States: (1) as products from a nation which is party to a congressionally-approved free trade agreement with the United States, so long as the Secretary certifies that arrangements have been reached by which U.S. purchasers can readily gain access to an original laboratory testing report; or (2) as Canadian-origin products under the United States-Canada Automobile Pact for use as original equipment in the manufacture of motor vehicles.

Permits delivery to an importer or private label distributor without the required testing report if: (1) the manufacturer provides to the importer or distributor a certification that the fasteners meet applicable standards and specifications; and (2) the importer or distributor assumes responsibility in writing for the inspection and testing of the lot by an accredited laboratory. Applies requirements with respect to certifications by manufacturers to importers and distributors who assume responsibility for inspection and testing.

Requires persons who make significant alterations to a fastener subsequent to manufacture to have the altered fastener inspected and tested unless delivery is accompanied by a disclosure of the alteration and a warning. Requires subsequent disclosures of the original lot number and alteration in resales. Limits commingling of fasteners from different lots in the same container.

Prohibits the sale of fasteners at wholesale or for assembling components of a product or structure for sale unless the container is marked with the lot number from which such fasteners were taken. Waives such prohibitions for sales by original equipment manufacturers to their authorized dealers for use in assembling or servicing products produced by such manufacturers.

Requires fastener manufacturers or private label distributors to comply with requirements of a program for recordation of insignias. Directs the Secretary to establish such a program, including regulations to ensure traceability.

Sets forth civil remedies, including declaratory and injunctive relief, and civil and criminal penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for violations of this Act. Sets forth requirements regarding judicial review of civil penalties.

Provides that nothing in this Act shall be construed to: (1) preempt any rights or causes of action that any buyer may have with respect to any seller of fasteners under the law of any State, except insofar as such State law conflicts with this Act; and (2) limit or otherwise affect the authority of any consensus standards organization to establish, modify, or withdraw any standards and specifications under any other law or authority in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

Directs the Secretary to appoint an advisory committee consisting of fastener manufacturers, importers, distributors, end-users, independent laboratories, and standards organizations.