Requirements for UL Listing Labels

by Ron White; Updated September 26, 2017
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Underwriters Laboratories leads the country in setting safety standards designed to ensure public safety and confidence and maximize the quality of manufactured products. Companies that conform to the standards can label their products as UL certified, but there are rules to follow when it comes to labeling. Underwriters Laboratories provides details about its labeling requirements, featuring some basic tenets.

UL Approval Process

Before any company can label its product as adhering to standards set by Underwriters Laboratories, it must apply for UL certification. UL performs various reviews to determine whether a manufactured product adheres to safety standards applicable to that particular product category. For example, in the medical device industry, UL serves to register companies based on ISO 14971 standards. These standards relate to the use of labeling on medical devices, which often require special instructions for health-care industry workers. The safety standards used are predetermined and are published in the UL’s Standards for Safety listings.

Marking and Labeling

Before products can feature labels that assert UL approval, the labels must be reviewed to ensure they meet basic requirements set by UL. This program oversees review of labels by determining how they actually perform at the end-user level. The labels are evaluated in four separate areas, including printing material used. Among the concerns is how well labels hold up against the wear they are likely to endure. For example, labels are often exposed to humidity, heat and oils that can damage the labels. Labels suitable for use under this category include those painted or enameled on metal and those that adhere to alkyd paint or enamel. The program also measures the area of labels where printing can occur and the appearance of the printing in terms of legibility and prominence. Manufacturers that do not use the program cannot use UL labeling unless they purchase their labels from an approved supplier.

Authorized Label Suppliers

Under this labeling program, companies are required to use only UL listing labels that have been supplied by authorized companies. These are companies that Underwriters Laboratories have approved. They have endured a certification process that ensures they comply with various UL labeling requirements. The requirements they must meet are similar to those set for companies that opt for the Marking and Labeling System Program. UL publishes a list of companies authorized to supply other companies with UL listing labels. The list is available at ul.com/clients/label.

Private Labeling

In today’s marketplace, many products made by one manufacturer are sold under the label of another company. The rules for UL listing require companies that market private-label products to apply for the Multiple Listing Service before it can market the products as UL-approved. This only applies to those products for which the original manufacturer already has secured UL approval. In a Multiple Listing Service application, both the private label company and the original product manufacturer must complete the form.

About the Author

Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.

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