I have a store and a designer has approached me with a great lamp made out of paper.
What does the law say about selling such a thing? It doesn’t come with anything electric, it’s more like a device to hold a lightbulb.
It has me wondering who is responsible for the product’s safety - me, the designer/manufacturer?
I’ve often wondered this… I did come across an article about a new extension cord and during the research they mentioned Underwriter’s Laboratory Inc. (UL)… and said…
"The UL certification is required for electrical products that are sold in the home market, and most retailers won’t sell a consumer product without UL approval (since they take on liability without it). "
I actually toured the UL facilities in Germany… weird place.
Also, most licensed electricians won’t install non-UL products because they take on liability… bottom line… i wouldn’t do it.
I guess none of that really answers the question about lighting accessories… but probably still falls under the “lamp shade” arena… i’d make sure the person who’s making them researches this b/c liability sounds iffy. there are other companies who will do this for light manufacturers that follow UL standards… a bit more off topic.
I’d be curious if anyone here has ever gone through the UL stamp of approval process?
I work at a lighting company. We UL and CSA approve everything we do. We make the entire fixture though, shades, bulbs, fixture, etc. From my understanding it is the manufacturer that takes responsibility for an unsafe lamp. Of course, at the end of the day, they will sue whoever has the most money!
If this designer has only made a shade, it maybe safe to sell. I don’t know what I would do, it would depend on how much money I had to lose, and the volume of the product.
If you want UL approval, get the applicable standards and find a UL agent. You can find the standards, typically, at engineering Universities. If you can find the one you need, contact me and I’ll see if we have the standards for paper shades on file (we have never made one here, so I don’t know if we have it).
Basically, the UL agents are engineers that work as contacts between you and UL. Once you are sure that your product meets their standards, you show it to the UL agent. He documents that you have met the standards. For a shade, you may need to make some heat testing. Basically, it is installing the light fixture and leaving it on for 8+ hours and seeing if it blows up/catches on fire. You will need to document temperatures for this, so it does require some equipment. Don’t worry though, there are agents that can do these for you, although it maybe expensive.