What exactly are “safety listings”?
These are specific standards that products are required to meet for given applications and uses. These include everything in a building from the electrical system to the plumbing as well as the loudspeakers, wiring, electronics, and racks used to support the paging, BGM, or emergency communication systems.
How are safety listings created?
The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a standard recognized in all 50 U.S. states. They govern the installation of electrical wiring and equipment. UL is a company that has developed additional safety standards for a wide variety of products that have been adopted by municipalities. Building inspectors, fire inspectors, and other Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) are required to verify that all products installed in a building meet the standards that have been adopted by the local government. Each safety listing has a unique number that references these standards.
What is UL?
UL is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) that is authorized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to perform tests on products submitted to them by manufacturers for verification that the products meet the requested safety standard. UL is one of many NRTL's authorized to perform certification tests. UL has also developed many standards on their own that have been adopted as standards by many different industries and is recognized as the leader in the industry.
Are products tested by other NRTLs the same as products tested by UL?
Any NRTL authorized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that tests and certifies a product to the standard is considered the same as a product tested by UL. The certification to the standard is the important part as long as it was tested by an authorized NRTL.
For a full list of authorized NRTL's visit https://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/nrtllist.html.
How do I know if I need to use a safety-listed product?
There are in fact instances where a safety listed product is not required. If the project is specification driven and designed by an architect, consultant, or engineer, the specification will usually say what the requirements are for each product in relation to the specific standard.
However, the integrator is ultimately responsible for ensuring the products they specify meet the requirements in the cities, counties and states they work in to ensure they will not be rejected during the final inspection. Choosing a product that doesn't meet the jurisdictional requirement can result in significant time and financial loss. This is most important on design/build projects where the integrator is selecting the parts without a specification from an architect or engineer. Don't assume that the building owner understands the local building code requirements. Knowing the codes and being an expert on the subject is a great way for an integrator to separate themselves from their competitors when talking to prospective clients.
To learn more about common safety standards that apply to the commercial audio industry visit AtlasIED safety listings and certifications.