North American standards and certifications

North American standards and certifications

North American standards and certifications

To assist in understanding how to properly apply manual motor starters within North America, the following section provides a review of electrical product certification within this region.

North American standards

Below is an overview of the North American standards referenced within this document.

Installation standards

— Govern the installation of electrical components and conductors in each country
— Scopes include all electrical installations beyond the point of the utility service drop
— Applicable for residential, commercial, and industrial structures
— Often adopted into law by local governments

NFPA® 70 National Electrical Code® (NEC)
United States

CSA C22.1 Canadian Electrical Code (CEC)

NOM-001-SEDE-2012 Instalaciones Eléctricas (utilización)

Application-specific standards

— Govern specific applications (e.g. industrial control panels)
— Can allow for greater flexibility when designing and building electrical equipment

NFPA® 79 – Industrial Machinery
UL 508A – Industrial Control Panels
CSA C22.2 No.14 – Industrial Control Equipment


Product standards

— Govern the products themselves
— Quantify the necessary product construction, marking and tests required for certification

UL 60947-4-1 – Electromechanical Contactors and Motor-Starters

UL 508 – Industrial Control Equipment
UL 508A – Industrial Control Panels
UL 508C – Power Conversion Equipment
UL 489 – Molded-Case Circuit Breakers, Molded-Case Switches, and C.B. Enclosures
UL 98 – Enclosed and Dead-Front Switches
UL 1077 – Supplementary Protectors for Use in Electrical Equipment
UL 248-1 – Low-Voltage Fuses

CSA C22.2 No.60947-4-1 – Electromechanical Contactors and Motor-Starters

CSA C22.2 No.14 – Industrial Control Equipment
CSA C22.2 No.274 – Adjustable Speed Drives
CSA C22.2 No.5 – Overcurrent Protection
CSA C22.2 No.4 – Enclosed and Dead-Front Switches
CSA C22.2 No.235 – Supplementary Protectors
CSA C22.2 No.248 – Low-Voltage Fuses


Global harmonization efforts

As globalization continues to impact consumers more and more each year, it is becoming increasingly important for customers to understand the rules and regulations of multiple world regions. In an effort to limit the scope of knowledge required to achieve this without sacrificing safety, Standards Development Organizations, including Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and the International
Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) are working together. Taking their like-standards, they are combining best practices, eliminating antiquated verbiage, and producing harmonized global standards.

Most notably for the purpose of this document, these organizations have adopted the IEC 60947-4-1 standard to harmonize the UL 60947-4-1 and CSA C22.2 No. 60947-4-1 standards for Electromechanical Contactors and Motor-Starters, which now govern the certification of manual motor starters, replacing UL 508 and CSA C22.2 No.14.

Certifications in North America

For electrical products to be legally installed in the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lawfully requires these devices to be certified through a Nationally Recognized Test Laboratory (NRTL). An NRTL holds the responsibility to properly certify manufactures’ products to the appropriate product safety standards. OSHA currently recognizes 15 organizations as NRTLs, most notably including:

— UL - Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
— CSA - Canadian Standards Association
— Intertek Testing Services NA, Inc.

Each product certified through an NRTL is given a unique certification mark to indicate conformity, which becomes a clear sign to inspectors, those Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) over an installation, that the product can be legally and safely accepted. 

Accreditation within Canada is performed by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC).

Product certification marks

Each Nationally Recognized Test Laboratory’s product mark is unique, and also differs depending on whether the product has been certified for use in the United States, Canada, or both. This is typically indicated by the inclusion of the letters “C” or “US” in the mark. Below are several examples.

Products are marked to differentiate between whether they are “Listed” devices, indicating that they meet all of the requirements outlined in the respective product standards, or “Recognized” devices, which meet only some of the requirements of their standard. Recognized components are subject to additional “Conditions of Acceptability” and can be somewhat limiting in regards to their use in electrical installations.



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