UL (safety organization)

UL - Underwriters Laboratories was founded in 1894 and is an independent organization, examines the products in terms of safety and certified. The company's headquarters is located in Northbrook in the U.S. state of Illinois. The UL International Germany GmbH is located in Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt, and is the headquarters for Europe and Latin America. In addition, the UL International Germany GmbH with offices in Munich and Krefeld.


UL " approved" no products. Instead, examine the organization of products, components, materials and systems, whether they meet specific requirements. If this is the case, such products must bear the fee- UL Mark, as long as they comply with the prescribed standards.

UL develops standards and procedures to test products, materials, components, assemblies, devices, systems and equipment safety. The activity area system certification (eg ISO 9000 standards) was merged in 2008 with the German Society for the Certification of Management Systems ( DQS). Since then, this assessment activity is managed worldwide by the DQS UL, is instrumental in the UL.

UL is one of the few companies that have the approval of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA). The OSHA performs under the name Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories a list of all nationally recognized testing laboratories.

UL has developed more than 1,300 safety standards, many of which are American National Standards (ANSI) are. A typical standard for electronic goods includes not only the requirements for electrical safety, but also a wide range in terms of flammability and mechanical hazards.


Underwriters Laboratories Inc. was founded by William Henry Merrill in Chicago in 1894. An electrical engineer had been a year earlier sent from Boston there to check the Palace of Electricity at the World's Fair. Here, the 25 -year-old recognized the growing potential in the area of ​​product safety and remained in Chicago to found Underwriters Laboratories. Merrill developed standards, started testing, designed the necessary equipment and identified possible sources. In addition to his work at UL was the founder Treasurer (1903-1909) and president (1910-1912) of the National Fire Protection Association and active member of the Chicago Board and Union Committee. In 1916, Merrill was the first president of UL.

Your first standard UL published in 1903 with the "Tin Clad Fire Doors", the sheet misted fire doors. The following year, the UL mark on a fire extinguisher made ​​its debut. In 1905 established a UL Mark services for certain product categories, which required regular inspections. In addition, the UL inspectors conducted their first audit by at a manufacturer who provided his products with the UL symbol. To date, just draw these unannounced on-site inspections of the test and certification programs by UL.

Over the years, UL has grown into a worldwide organization. The UL experts now serve in 73 laboratory, testing and certification facilities in 104 countries. In addition, UL has significantly expanded its service portfolio. Based on the original areas of fire protection and electrical safety, the company now covers a broad spectrum, which includes topics such as hazardous materials, water quality and food safety are.

Since 2011 there has been cooperation between Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and the Physikalisch -Technische Bundesanstalt in the field of explosion protection.

Approvals and certification

UL offers several certifications: The UL Listing Mark is the evidence that UL representative samples of the product being tested and its consistency has confirmed with the applicable UL safety standards. The UL Recognized Component Mark says that the UL recognized component in a product or system can be used, which carries the UL Listing Mark.

The UL Classification Mark is on products that UL has evaluated in terms of certain properties in order to avoid risks and to confirm the operational capability under certain conditions. These include, inter alia, safety features such as the labeling of products. UL maintains a directory with more than 3 million products that are publicly available via online databases.

For the certification of its product through UL, a manufacturer must prove that he complies with the prescribed safety requirements, most of which were developed by UL itself. At the same time a manufacturer has to make use of an appropriate system that also every copy of his product meets the specified security requirements. To ensure that a manufacturer complies with the specifications and permanently, UL inspected at irregular intervals unannounced checks on the production. Modifies a manufacturer product design, UL has the new version have only tested before the product can bear a UL Mark.

The UL mark has in principle no more legal weight than other brands. In this respect, it differs from the CE or the standard Federal Communications Commission Part 15, both of which are required by law. In practice, it is likely to prove very difficult, however, to bring certain products without a UL Mark on the U.S. market. So wholesalers may refrain from delivering a product without UL seal of approval. The use of non- certified devices could lead to a loss of insurance coverage. Therefore, it is common in many areas to list products with the UL Listing Mark or materials with the Recognised Component Mark. There is also the National Electrical Code (NEC ) References to UL Standards: UL partially be based standards in the development of NEC, so manufacturers need these standards (similar to the German DIN VDE 0100) meet. In addition, planning authorities, fire safety officers and inspectors may refuse to approve a product for installation in a building if it does not use a recognized seal of approval. In the past 20 years there has been great progress in the harmonization of international safety standards. Thus, manufacturers have the option of using a single certification process by UL to receive a mark that meets national standards in both the U.S. and Canada. Then mark the point directly beside the UL logo is a "C" and "U.S.".

The European equivalent of the UL Mark is the CE marking. This icon indicates that a product complies with the applicable European Directives with respect to safety and the protection of health, the environment and consumers. However, the manufacturers make compliance with CE regulations usually simply by itself, while the award of the UL Mark is preceded by an independent certification by UL. A product with the CE marking may thus have also a seal of approval as the UL Mark.