UL, CSA, ETL and CE: What are they and is there a difference?

You may have noticed that New Brunswick Scientific equipment carries a variety of certification marks such as UL, CSA, ETL or CE and so on. What do these certification marks mean and is there a difference?

Basically they are all stamps of approval from independent agencies certifying that our products meet rigorous standards for electrical safety and electromagnetic emissions.

The acronyms are spelled out below:

UL: Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
CSA: Canadian Standards Association
ETL: Originally a mark of ETL Testing Laboratories, now a mark of Intertek Testing Services
CE: Conformance European (Communauté Européenne or Conformité Européenne)

Let’s review each:

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (www.ul.com) is an independent, nonprofit organization that writes testing standards and tests products for safety and certifies them. UL has developed more than 800 standards for safety, and millions of products and their components are tested to UL’s safety standards.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is a nonprofit association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace. Among many other activities, CSA (www.csa.ca) develops standards that enhance public safety. A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, CSA is very familiar with U.S. requirements. According to OSHA (U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations, the CSA-US Mark qualifies as an alternative to the UL Mark.

ETL is a mark provided by Intertek and ETL Semko. Intertek (www.intertek-etlsemko.com) is a global leader in testing inspection and certification services. They are a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory and tests products to UL, CSA and CE standards.

A product bearing the ETL Listed Mark is determined to have met the requirements of prescribed product safety standards. Moreover, the mark indicates that the manufacturer's production site conforms to a range of compliance measures and is subject to periodic follow-up inspections to verify continued conformance.

An ETL Listed mark with both "us" and "c" identifiers signifies that the product bearing the mark complies with both UL and CSA product safety standards. If it bears just the "us" identifier, it has been tested and deemed compliant to UL. product safety standards only. An ETL Listed mark with a "c" identifier means the product bearing it complies with CSA product safety standards only.

The CE Mark is a requirement for products sold to the European Market. The CE Mark identifies a product as complying with the health and safety requirements spelled out in European legislation (Directives) and is mandatory for equipment operating in the European Union (EU). Once the product has received the CE Mark it can circulate freely throughout the European Union countries.

In summary, the certification marks on NBS products are your assurance that the product meets rigorous standards for electrical safety and EMC (Electro Magnetic Compatability) testing. It poses no shock hazard (except as noted on the product or in the manual), and it will not cause electromagnetic interference with other devices beyond a certain distance. You can use the product with confidence.


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