As the world globalizes, the rapid, trouble-free introduction of new products into the world marketplace is becoming increasingly important. Product liability laws in the U.S. are much stricter than in Europe. If products are to be exported to North America, they should be UL certified, especially if they are electrical equipment. The certification process according to North American standards for electrotechnical products simplifies market access immensely.
Conformity with U.S. safety regulations is demonstrated by a test mark from a qualified recognized testing laboratory. The most recognized test laboratory is UL (Underwriters Laboratories) which means as much as the test laboratories of the insurance companies. Ultimately, after all, the aim is to minimize the liability risks for insurance companies caused by equipment and the associated hazards (electric shock, fire and mechanical injury).
In order for UL to certify its product, the manufacturer must prove that it complies with the specified safety requirements, most of which were developed by UL itself. In addition, the manufacturer must ensure, with the help of an appropriate system, that each copy of its product also permanently meets the specified safety requirements. To ensure this, UL conducts unannounced inspections of manufacturing facilities at irregular intervals. If a manufacturer modifies its product design, UL must have tested the new version before the product can carry a UL Mark.
In addition, there are references to UL standards in the National Electrical Code (NEC). In some cases, UL standards are used as the basis for further development of the NEC, which means manufacturers must comply with these standards (similar to the German DIN VDE 0100).