UL – Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.

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UL Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.

Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. (UL) is chartered as a nonprofit organization to set up, sustain and use laboratories for the evaluation and testing of devices, systems and materials. UL Standards are concerned with the safety as well as the overall performance of products they certify.

The principal goals and objectives of UL are: (One) “to determine the relation of various materials, devices, constructions, and methods to life, fire, and casualty hazards”; (Two) “to ascertain, define, and publish Standards, Classifications, and Specifications for materials, devices, construction, and methods affecting such hazards”; and (Three) to supply “other information tending to reduce and prevent loss of life and property from fire, crime, and casualty.”

UL additionally contracts with producers and other parties “for the examination, classification, testing, and inspection of buildings, materials, devices, and methods with reference to life, fire, and casualty hazards.”

Results are distributed by various publications to insurance corporations, various other interested parties as well as to the general public.

The UL additionally contracts to provide product certification by affixing certificates or labels to reviewed, tested or inspected materials, devices and products.

The Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. initially was established in 1894 and was subsidized by the stock insurance companies. Before the turn of the century, as new electrical devices and products came swiftly into the marketplace, it grew to be necessary to test out and examine them to insure general public safety. The National Board of Fire Underwriters (now the American Insurance Association) organized and subsidized Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. to fulfill this need.

UL became self-supporting in about 1916. To maintain the screening program, UL contracts with the product submitter for examining, report and listing of devices, systems or materials on a time and material basis. The expense of the assessment service is provided for either by an once a year fee or by service charges for labels, based on the kind of service. Materials and products having the UL labels and certificates have to fulfill written requirements of overall performance and manufacture and are subjected to UL inspection during manufacture.

Although predominantly interested in consumer safety, UL’s policy is to list and label only products which perform their expected functionality. If a product does not perform with acceptable effectiveness, even though it may be totally safe, it does not qualify for the UL label.

UL has a staff of over one thousand, as well as technical engineers and inspectors, with four screening stations (listed below), and representatives in hundreds of cities throughout the country.

“Published Standards of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.” is obtainable from the Chicago, Melville, N.Y. and Santa Clara, CA offices.

Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. Standards are specified by the initials UL, followed by a code number. No date of last revision is showed by the number.

By way of example, UL55B addresses “Class ‘C’ Asphalt Organic-Felt Sheet Roofing and Shingles” and was last changed in 1962.

List of submitters whose items are listed and labeled are published on a yearly basis. These lists and other publications are available from the Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., 207 E. Ohio St., Chicago, IL. 60611.

Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc.
207 E. Ohio St.
Chicago, IL. 60611