Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories
Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
The UL Mark
The UL Mark
Abbreviation UL
Formation 1894 (1894)
Type Standards organization
Headquarters Northbrook, Illinois, United States
Region served 98 countries
President, CEO and Trustee Keith E. Williams
Staff 6,808 (2008)
Website www.ul.com

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization. Established in 1894,[1] the company has its headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois.[2] UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing with product safety. UL also evaluates and certifies the efficiency of a company’s business processes through its management system registration programs. Additionally, UL analyzes drinking and other clean water samples through its drinking water laboratory in South Bend, Indiana and evaluates products for environmental sustainability through its subsidiary, UL Environment.

UL is one of several companies approved for such testing by the U.S. federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA maintains a list of approved testing laboratories, known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.



UL headquarters in Northbrook

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. was founded in 1894 by William Henry Merrill. Early in his career as an electrical engineer in Boston, a 25 year old Merrill was sent to investigate the World Fair’s Palace of Electricity. Upon seeing a growing potential in his field, Merrill stayed in Chicago to found Underwriters Laboratories.

Merrill soon went to work developing standards, launching tests, designing equipment and uncovering hazards. Aside from his work at UL, Merrill served as the National Fire Protection Association’s secretary-treasurer (1903–1909) and president (1910–1912) and was an active member of the Chicago Board and Union Committee. In 1916, Merrill became UL’s first president.

UL published its first standard, “Tin Clad Fire Doors,” in 1903. The following year, the UL Mark made its debut with the labeling of a fire extinguisher. In 1905, UL established a Label Service for certain product categories that require more frequent inspections. UL inspectors conducted the first factory inspections on labeled products at manufacturers’ facilities—a practice that remains a hallmark of UL’s testing and certification program.

UL has expanded into an organization with 64 laboratory, testing and certification facilities serving customers in 98 countries.[1] It has also evolved from its roots in electrical and fire safety to address broader safety issues, such as hazardous substances, water quality, food safety, performance testing and environmental sustainability.

For-profit subsidiary

On August 28, 2007, the nonprofit and tax-exempt UL announced that its Board of Trustees had resolved to develop a for-profit testing and certification subsidiary.[3]

The parent nonprofit company will continue to develop safety standards—with the for-profit subsidiary intended to generate money to be used for this work. The for-profit part of the business promotes the sales of standards developed by the nonprofit part. [4]

UL Standards [5]

Melville, New York location
Electrical Enclosures
  • Boxes-Junction and Pull (BGUZ)
  • Cabinets and Cutout Boxes-Sheet Metal (CYIV)
  • Industrial Control Panel Enclosures (NITW)
Industrial Control Panels
  • Industrial Control Panels (NITW)
  • Flame Control Panels
  • Power Press Control Panels
Industrial Control Equipment
  • Auxiliary Devices (NKCR)
  • Electromechanical
  • Solid State
  • Mechanical
  • Electronic
  • Combination Motor Controllers (NKJH)
  • Float and Pressure-Operated Switches (NKPZ)
  • Magnetic Motor Controllers (NLDX)
  • Manual Motor Controllers (NLRV)
  • Motor Controllers-Miscellaneous (NMFT)
  • Miscellaneous Apparatus (NMTR)
  • Switches, Industrial Control (NRNT)
  • Programmable Controllers (NRAQ)
  • Proximity Switches (NRKH)
High-Voltage Industrial Control Equipment
  • Motor Controllers, Over 1500 V (NJHU)
  • Motor Controller Accessories, Over 1500 V (NJIJ)
  • Medium Voltage Power Conversion Equipment (NJIC)
Power Conversion Equipment
  • Power Conversion Equipment (NMMS)
Locks for Safes
  • Mechanical Dial Combination Locks (Group I and Group II)
  • Electronic Locks
  • Biometric Locks

Similar organizations

  • Baseefa — a similar organization in the UK
  • Canadian Standards Association a similar organization in Canada; also serves as a competitive alternative for USA products
  • ETL SEMKO — a competing testing laboratory, part of Intertek; based in London, UK
  • IAPMO R&T — a competing certification body, based in Ontario, California, USA
  • MET Laboratories, Inc. — a competing testing laboratory based in Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • NTA Inc — a competing certification agency based in Nappanee, Indiana, USA
  • Sira — a similar organization for the UK/Europe
  • TÜV — a similar German approvals organisation

See also


  1. ^ a b "UL Press Kit". Underwriters Laboratories. September 2009. http://www.ul.com/global/eng/documents/corporate/newsroom/UL_PressKit.pdf. Retrieved 28 February 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ "U.S.A." Underwriters Laboratories. Retrieved on August 10, 2010. "Corporate Headquarters 333 Pfingsten Road Northbrook, IL 60062-2096."
  3. ^ News Release,[dead link] Underwriters Laboratories, 28 August 2007.
  4. ^ [http://www.cpsc.gov/LIBRARY/FOIA/meetings/mtg08/ul4_10.pdf Log of Meeting for Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to describe their for-profit subsidiary], U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 10 April 2008.
  5. ^ UL Standards and Outlines of Investigation, Underwriters Laboratories

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Underwriters Laboratories — Inc. Rechtsform Inc …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Underwriters Laboratories™ — UK US noun [S] COMMERCE, PRODUCTION ► UL™(Cf. ↑UL™) …   Financial and business terms

  • Underwriters Laboratories - UL — A global safety science company, and the largest and oldest independent testing laboratory in the United States. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tests the latest products and technologies for safety before they are marketed around the world. It… …   Investment dictionary

  • Underwriters' Laboratories — Underwriters La|bor|a|tories the full name of the ↑UL …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • underwriters laboratories — (UL)  Company that reviews the safety of electrical products …   American business jargon

  • UL (Underwriters Laboratories) — Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Тип Сертифи …   Википедия

  • Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories — A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory is a testing facility recognized by OSHA as primarily private sector organizations that provide product safety testing and certification services to manufacturers. The testing and certification are done …   Wikipedia

  • UL —   Underwriters Laboratories …   Energy terms

  • UL — Underwriters Laboratories (Business » Firms) *** Uplink (Governmental » NASA) *** Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (Business » Firms) ** Upper Left (Academic & Science » Chemistry) ** Unordered List (Computing » General) * Underwriters Laboratory… …   Abbreviations dictionary

  • UL — Underwriters Laboratories (used esp. on labels for electrical appliances approved by this nonprofit safety testing organization). * * * …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”