UL (formerly Underwriters Laboratories), founded in 1894, is an independent safety science company and standards developer that promotes the production and use of products that are physically and environmentally safe. It seeks to advance the living and working conditions for people, through the application of science, hazard-based safety engineering, and data acumen. Working closely with customers, regulators, insurers, retailers, consumers, and others on research, technology, safety, and education initiatives, UL has become a foundational leader of the U.S. safety system.
UL supplies a wide range of conformity and quality assessment services to manufacturers and other organizations. It also assists local authorities or municipalities by offering consumer education programs and working to strengthen safety standardization globally. UL has developed over a thousand product standards and outlines, and actively participates in national and international standards development in areas such as: performance testing, fire testing, medical device testing, environmental and public health, EPH services (food service equipment, drinking water certification, plumbing equipment), audio/video, home electronics, Source Verification and Inspection Services (SVIS), electric vehicle components and systems, EMC testing and certification, information technology equipment (ITE) industry services, and telecom industry services. The organization administers evaluations on products in these fields to assess whether they meet standards set by UL engineers in collaboration with manufacturers and users, and, if requested, by outside groups (like cities, in the case of building codes, for instance).
Many UL-developed standards are accepted as American National Standards (ANSs), governed by ANSI, and 70 are endorsed by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standards. UL offers consulting services for companies looking to test products for international markets. This division studies international product certification standards, assists with the application process, helps to communicate and translate, and can coordinate the exchange and review of test data. UL developed and manages GREENGUARD, the popular third-party assessment program for indoor air quality, and created UL SPOT in collaboration with USGBC.