Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) develops standards through a consensus-based, transparent process. This column provides a brief explanation of the process phases and how to get involved. All UL standards development activities occur online on UL’s 24/7 platform, called collaborative standards development system (CSDS). CSDS provides access to submit proposals for UL standards, to view, comment and vote on proposed changes to a standard, and to access meeting information.
Anyone can create a CSDS account and submit a rationale and proposal to change or suggest a new standard, called a proposal submission. UL assigns a staff chair and project manager to lead the process and forms a standards technical panel (STP), which serves as the consensus body. STP members can include authorities having jurisdiction, testing laboratories, manufacturers, regulators, academia and end-user experts as well as other interested parties. After the STP is formed, preliminary review may occur, giving STP members and stakeholders the ability to comment, which allows for industry input and possible proposal refinement prior to voting.
Next, the proposal goes through a 30- to 60-day ballot, where STP members vote on the proposal. However, any interested party can comment during this time as part of public review. If consensus is achieved, then the proposal advances. Any no vote or objection has to be considered and responded to. The proposal might be modified as a result of comments. Responses to comments and any changes to the proposal are recirculated. The recirculation period is normally open for 14 to 45 days and allows the STP to reconsider their vote in light of comments received, comment responses or changes to the proposal. If consensus is obtained after recirculation, the proposal is adopted and proceeds to publication.
There are no fees associated with CSDS or with STP participation. However, benefits of STP participation include free access to the latest versions of the standards, being aware of proposed changes and the ability to influence content. For more information, go to https://ulstandards.ul.com/develop-standards/participation.