UL Label vs. an ETL Label

Q: While I realize that the UL label is accepted by most all AHJs, what about the ETL label from Intertek? Recently I had a fan purchased by a member of our facility with the ETL label and no UL label. I researched the ETL label and found that it met the requirements of NFPA 70 and allowed the use of the appliance. In your opinion do you think that CMS, our accreditation organization, and the state fire marshal would have a problem with my opinion?

A: Surveyors who work for accreditation organizations, state agencies, fire marshals, etc., are human and respond differently to things they have never observed before. It is likely that they would question an ETL label if they are not familiar with it. The open-minded surveyors would typically ask questions and then accept the ETL label realizing that the NFPA standards do not require a specific label from UL, but a label indicating the product is listed by an independent testing laboratory. The close-minded and poorly trained surveyors may reject a label that is not UL, not fully understanding that the ETL label meets the requirements.

If you get a surveyor who will not accept a label other than one provided by UL, then I believe you have a good case to appeal any finding cited by that individual.

Brad Keyes
Brad Keyes, CHSP

Brad is a former advisor to Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and former Joint Commission LS surveyor. He guides clients through  organizational assessment; management training; ongoing coaching of task groups; and extensive one-on-one coaching of facility leaders. He analyzes and develops leadership effectiveness and efficiency in work processes, focusing on assessing an organization’s preparedness for a survey, evaluating processes in achieving preparedness, and guiding organizations toward compliance. 

As a presenter at national seminars, regional conferences, and audio conferences, Brad teaches the Keyes Life Safety Boot Camp series to various groups and organizations. He is the author or co-author of many HCPro books, including the best-selling  Analyzing the Hospital Life Safety Survey, now in its 3rd edition. Brad has also authored a variety of articles in numerous publications addressing features of life safety and fire protection, as well as white papers and articles on the Building Maintenance Program. Currently serving as the contributing editor of the monthly HCPro newsletter Healthcare Life Safety Compliance  gives Brad further insight into the industry’s trends and best practices.