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Last edited 22 Sep 2020
Underwriters Laboratories UL
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global safety certification organisation based in the United States. Its purpose is to test products and technologies for safety before they are introduced into the global marketplace.
It has the oldest independent safety testing laboratory in the United States. The organisation began in 1894 as the Underwriters’ Electrical Bureau, which was a division of the National Board of Fire Underwriters.
It was founded by William Henry Merrill, an electrical engineer who had been sent on behalf of fire insurance underwriters to assess the safety of the World Fair's Palace of Electricity. In the process, Merrill performed numerous tests on the materials used in the construction of the building. As a result of Merrill’s experience, he recognised the growing need for this type of work and founded the organisation.
 Significance of tests
The results of UL testing verify that a representative sample of a product has been tested against specific criteria. These requirements are frequently based on UL's Standards for Safety. Once a product line has been tested and has successfully met this criteria, it will be given a UL (or ULC, Underwriters Laboratories Canada) mark to indicate its status.
UL has standards that cover the following categories:
- Building products.
- Electrical and electronic products.
- Industrial control equipment.
- Life safety products.
- Photovoltaic products.
- Plastic materials.
- Wire and cables.
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