In the United States, electric signs must comply with the provisions of the National Electric Code Article 600 and Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) 48 Standard for Electric Signs.
Now in its 15th edition, UL 48 requirements cover all electric signs, art forms, outline lighting and skeleton neon tubing. For decades, ISA has taken a leading role in the development of UL Standards that keep pace with advances in electric sign technology.
Since its first edition in 1917, UL 48 has developed norms and guidelines that have harmonized the design and manufacture of electric signs that operate safely.
Other related UL Standards, such as UL 879 Standard for Electric Sign Components and UL 2161 Standard for Neon Transformers and Power Supplies, develop the requirements for components designed for use in UL 48 electric signs. UL 48 is being revised continuously, with the 15th edition published in 2011. Since the initial release of the 15th edition, UL 48 was revised six times. (UL 48 and other standards are now available for purchase in the UL Shop.)
UL now allows open-access online views for its entire library. Visit UL Shop to access other standards.
*Though the new Digital View feature is available with a free registration, the Digital View does not allow the reader to download or print the standard and is limited to a page-by-page view.
UL 48 STANDARDS TECHNICAL PANEL
Though Underwriters Laboratories publishes the UL 48 Standard, control over the contents of UL 48 reside with a “Standards Technical Panel” (STP) that represents a broad cross-section of stakeholders in electric signs.
Changes to the provisions of the UL 48 and UL879A Standards must be approved by the UL 48STP before appearing in the published standard.
Members of an STP can represent one of nine interest categories (producer, testing and standards organization, authorities having jurisdiction, consumer, government, etc.).
As of August 2017, UL 48 STP has 20 voting members; only 1 of those members represents UL. 10 of those members represent sign companies, sign component manufacturers, or other sign industry representatives.
ISA’s director of industry programs, Kenny Peskin, has represented the International Sign Association on the UL 48 STP since early 2016.
UL-SIGN INDUSTRY BUSINESS PANEL
In response to changes made in the UL certification program back in 2008, ISA and other sign industry associations joined UL in establishing a working group to discuss issues facing the industry and proposed changes to UL procedures.
Since that time, ISA has regularly met with key Lighting and Field Services staff at UL’s Northbrook, IL headquarters.
The ULSIBP mission statement reads:
For more information about the ULSIBP, please contact ISA’s Kenny Peskin.
ISA ELECTRICAL CODES & STANDARDS FORUM
Each year at the ISA International Sign Expo, ISA hosts the largest, most comprehensive discussion of electric sign standards.
ISA code experts are joined by UL’s Principal Engineer-Lighting and representatives from the International Association of Electrical Inspectors to review new standards requirements, analyze their interpretation and application in sign manufacturing and installation, and advocate the sign industry position on irregular practices.
Information about attending the upcoming Electrical Codes & Standards Forum (or obtaining recordings from past Forums) can be found at signexpo.org/education.