DEFINITION of 'Underwriters Laboratories - UL'

A global safety science company, and the largest and oldest independent testing laboratory in the United States. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) tests the latest products and technologies for safety before they are marketed around the world. It tests over 19,000 different products annually, ranging from consumer electronics, alarms and security equipment, to lasers, medical devices and robotics.


Founded in 1894, Underwriters Laboratories offers its services in five strategic areas - product safety, environment, life & health, university and verification services.

BREAKING DOWN 'Underwriters Laboratories - UL'

Underwriters Laboratories is a non-profit organization that is funded by the fees it charges manufacturers of products that are submitted for certification. UL charges fees for the initial evaluation process, as well as ongoing maintenance fees for follow-up service.


UL's operations are global in scope, with customers in 102 countries. In 2009, 20 billion UL Marks appeared on products, while 1.5 billion consumers in Asia, Europe and North America were reached by UL with safety messages.

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