One of the critical steps in ensuring electrical safety at home and in the workplace is to purchase electrical equipment tested and certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). While Underwriters Laboratories may be the most commonly recognized NRTL, others, including TUV, CSA, and ETL, also provide essential safety certifications.

For a comprehensive list of NRTLs, visit the OSHA website.

NRTL the Turtle: Your Guide to Safe Equipment Purchasing

Always look for the NRTL certification to ensure your selections are electrically safe when buying electrical equipment. Think of “NRTL the Turtle” as your helpful guide in making safe purchasing decisions.

Understanding CE Marking

While commonly used, the Conformité Européenne, or CE, marking is a regulatory standard that verifies certain products are safe for sale and use in the European Economic Area; it does not indicate that an NRTL has tested an item and is, therefore, not a reliable indicator of electrical safety. Owing to safety concerns, Berkeley Lab does not permit electrical equipment that is marked solely with CE and not accompanied by an NRTL certification.

Additional Safety Considerations

To further prevent electrical safety incidents, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Electrical devices that draw high current loads should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle, not a power strip.
  • Avoid daisy-chaining electrical cords, as this can create fire hazards.
  • Ensure that toasters, broilers, and similar appliances that produce heat are stored away from flammable materials and not positioned under directly overhead shelving to minimize fire risks.


For more information on ATAP News articles, contact Carl A. Williams (