NEMA and UL have announced changes to the UL Standard 943 Standard for Safety for GFCIs (Tri-national harmonized UL 943/CSA C22.2 No. 144.1/ANCE NMX-J-520) that will take effect on June 29, 2015. To maintain certification, all manufacturers must meet these revisions with GFCIs produced after June 28, 2015. The current GFCIs bearing the UL Certification Mark can no longer be produced after June 28, 2015, but can be sold by manufacturers, retailers, and distributors, and can be used by installers until their inventories are depleted.
The revisions to the tri-national standard were developed by a NEMA-led group in response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requesting auto monitoring requirements on GFCIs. Since GFCIs were introduced in the 1970s, they have reduced the number of electrocutions in residential settings. NEMA members, in concert with consumer alerts, always emphasized the need for GFCI units to be tested periodically. It was believed, however, that many individuals did not perform these tests, potentially creating a scenario where a consumer mistakenly assumed that the GFCI was functioning correctly and providing protection from electrocution. Further, even if the tests were performed, it was possible for an undetected failure or malfunction to occur between tests without a system of auto-monitoring.
Chris Walker, program manager, Codes & Standards at Eaton Corp., and NEMA GFCI technical committee chair remarked, "I am proud of the way in which NEMA member manufacturers and the standards developing organizations across North America worked together to write these important updates to the standard."
The codification of the important work to improve the safety of GFCIs and respond to CPSC staff concerns was realized with the approval of a NEMA-sponsored proposal to add GFCI self-test and power denial requirements in the most recent edition of UL 943.
“UL has worked with NEMA members on the UL 943 revisions in an effort to improve the safety of GFCIs and to add a layer of protection for the consumer,” said Lisa Salley, vice president and general manager–Energy and Power Technologies, UL LLC.