Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) enjoys a stellar reputation for their protection of consumers through extensive product testing. Recently, UL expanded their commitment to consumer safety with the launch of a new website called Safebee. Like UL’s primary website, Safebee includes information on product safety, but the majority of the site’s articles focus on consumer behaviors and how people can protect themselves at home, the outdoors, when using technology and more.
UL’s roots are in electrical safety, something that requires both reliable products and informed consumers. Fortunately, to those ends, UL is not alone. The National Electrical Code (NEC) was also established early in nationwide electrification efforts. It has continued to be relevant for over a century by revising safety standards for products and installation procedures every three years. Though local regulations may vary from state to state, the NEC has been widely adopted throughout the nation.
The full NEC guidelines are understandably long and complex, but the most recent mandates regarding electrical outlets are intended to be simple enough for most homeowners with a basic level of do-it-yourself skills to adopt. While the mandates technically apply only to new builds and renovations, the NEC recommends everyone retrofit non-compliant outlets.
For example, Tamper Resistant Receptacles are outlets with an internal shutter mechanism. They are designed to keep children from inserting small objects into an outlet. The shutter requires equal pressure from the prongs of a plug to release and allow access to the circuit.
Another product mandated by the NEC is the Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter, designed to sense a potential for arcing, in which it will then cut power to the circuit. Arcing is major fire hazard that can occur due to hot, damaged, or overtaxed wires or devices.
A wide range of NEC-compliant electrical outlets and components and can be found here at Steiner.