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.What is UL certification?

Date: 2015-07-23
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Underwriters' Laboratory (UL) began in 1894 under the name Underwriters' Electrical Bureau with the goal of improving living and working environments through safer science and hazard-based safety engineering. The organization is considered the standard for product-safety testing, and its mark--a "UL" in a circle--is a familiar sight on home and office products.

History

In the organization's first year, its three employees issued 75 reports on various products tested. In 1899, UL published an index to its first 1,000 test reports. Products included were arc lamps, fire alarm boxes, fuses, heaters and circuit breakers. In 1903, UL published its first Standard for Safety for a product line, the first of many to follow.

Significance

UL also led the push for more thorough lab testing by opening a fire-protection lab in 1958. This lab, state-of-the-art for its time, contained a furnace with adjustable frames enabling tests on products for fire-resistant designs. In 1960, based on the work begun in this lab, UL published the first Standard of Safety for smoke alarms.

Consumer Protection

In 1967, UL began the Consumer Advisory Council, a group dedicated to establishing levels of safety for consumer products, user experiences and product failures. The group also educates the public on the safe uses and limitations of specific consumer products.

International Considerations

After opening its first international office in London in 1916 to inspect British products exported to the United States, UL followed up with offices and laboratories in Canada, Europe, Japan, China, Honk Kong and Taiwan. Entering the 1990s, UL not only inspected products coming from these countries and more for use in the United States, it also certified them for use in their home countries as well.

Modern Day UL

With labs, testing and certification facilities across the globe, and affiliate offices in 17 countries, the UL mark is now the worldwide standard for product and consumer safety. Manufacturers submit more than 19,000 types of products, materials, systems and components to UL for evaluation every year. UL has also published Standards for Safety for more than 1,400 product lines.


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