UL, or Underwriters Laboratories, is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), as certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This means that UL is an independent,non- government organization, which has been recognized by OSHA to certify many electronic devices and components. OSHA requires certification on 37 different “groups” or “types” of products that are found in a workplace. To accomplish this, OSHA certifies around a dozen NRTLs. These are all private sector, third-party testing facilities that, according to OSHA, have the resources and know-how to perform safety testing and certification on electrical devices.
Each of the dozen or so NRTLs has a unique certification mark or marks, registered with OSHA, to demonstrate that the product, to which the mark is affixed, has met or passed the applicable product safety standards.
The standards to which these devices are held are not developed by OSHA, but rather by a U.S. standards company, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI sets the standards for thousands of everyday things (services, systems, processes, and even personnel) by using consensus-based standardization.
Besides for ANSI, there are other organizations which develop consensus based standards. Amongst these companies is UL. Some of the key standards which UL has developed for batteries are UL 1642, which is used for testing lithium batteries and UL 2054, which is the standard for household and commercial batteries. As such, MET Laboratories (Baltimore YAY!) might use UL 1642 standards to certify a power bank, but the UL mark would not appear on it. Rather you would see the MET symbol.
Although lithium batteries are not required by OSHA to be certified by an NRTL, you will find that many of our products are certified by UL, ETL, or TüV. Many companies choose to voluntarily have their products certified. This is because product safety is important to them for several reasons including brand image and liability. Having a product certified by an NRTL is one way of assuring that the product is safe.
UL, it can therefore be said, has two functions. The first is to develop consensus- based standards. The second is to test products to ensure that they meet the required standards.
Make sure to check out our UL Listed Power Banks, Power Banks with UL Recognized Components, and our products with other certifications.