Scratching Beneath the UL Mark

Although Underwriters Laboratories’ UL Mark is recognized on innumerable electronics, many people are not aware the Melville, N.Y.-based organization’s work dates back to 1894. Chris Hasbrook, vice president and general manager of UL’s global fire and security sector, offers more insight about the organization.

What efforts might dealers/installers not know UL is involvd in?

We work with governments worldwide to keep counterfeit products in check; with fire marshals and other regulators to provide a greater level of understanding regarding the various safety standards applicable in their locales; and with manufacturers worldwide as they look to bring smarter, safer, more efficient products to the market quicker.

What is the biggest misconception about UL?

There are probably two. The first is that we are a government entity or a government agency. Although we work closely with governments worldwide, UL is an independent, third-party organization that has dedicated itself to public safety for more than 100 years.

The second misconception is that we are simply just another test and certification company. It seems like today anyone can say that they test products and then place a safety mark on the product. But the value of the UL Mark goes beyond that — it’s the technical expertise, the engineering judgment, the industry knowledge, the state-of-the art equipment that is applied when determining whether a product meets applicable safety standards.

What role does UL play in standards development in the industry?

Besides authoring the various UL standards the have helped guide the electronic security industry since the 1920s, we actively work with various other standards writing bodies in the industry to provide insight and guidance for the next generation of products and services, with input from the industry.

We concentrate not only on the products of today, but also on the technologies of tomorrow. A good example is the work being done in bringing an important UL standard [UL 2572] recently to the industry regarding mass notification, an important life-safety area that has gotten much attention in the past several years.

How can dealers/installers leverage the UL listing with an end user?

The UL Mark is one of the most widely recognized and trusted safety marks in the world today. Did you know more than 100 products in an average home today will bear the UL Mark? So there is a definite benefit for the security contractor to mention to the home or business owner that the products they are looking to install bear the UL Mark.


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About the Author


Although Bosch’s name is quite familiar to those in the security industry, his previous experience has been in daily newspaper journalism. Prior to joining SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION in 2006, he spent 15 years with the Los Angeles Times, where he performed a wide assortment of editorial responsibilities, including feature and metro department assignments as well as content producing for Bosch is a graduate of California State University, Fresno with a degree in Mass Communication & Journalism. In 2007, he successfully completed the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association’s National Training School coursework to become a Certified Level I Alarm Technician.

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