UL is an American safety consulting and certification company headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. It maintains offices in 46 countries. Established in 1894 as the Underwriters' Electrical Bureau (a bureau of the National Board of Fire Underwriters), it was known throughout the 20th century as Underwriters Laboratories and participated in the safety analysis of many of that century's new technologies, most notably the public adoption of electricity and the drafting of safety standards for electrical devices and components.
UL provides safety-related certification, validation, testing, inspection, auditing, advising and training services to a wide range of clients, including manufacturers, retailers, policymakers, regulators, service companies, and consumers.
UL is one of several companies approved to perform safety testing by the US federal agency Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA maintains a list of approved testing laboratories, which are known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.