An Open Letter to the Electrical Industry
At Leviton, electrical and consumer safety is not just our pursuit, it’s our passion. Since 1906, safety has been at the forefront of our innovations in product development. One of our proudest safety accomplishments is our work in ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). We have been awarded numerous patents for GFCI innovations including our SmartlockPro® reset lockout feature that prevents power from flowing from a receptacle in the event the GFCI reaches its end-of-life.
A Tradition of Safety
True to this tradition of safety first, earlier this year, we introduced the Leviton Load Center with its
groundbreaking GFCI technology that exceeds existing UL/ANSI 943 requirements and meets the same auto monitoring requirements as GFCI receptacles. In the interest of consumer safety, we made the decision not to rely on the two exceptions that other GFCI circuit breaker manufacturers relied on to meet the UL/ANSI 943 end-of-life auto-monitoring requirements. What does this mean? In the event a Leviton GFCI circuit breaker experiences failure (open) of the trip solenoid or SCR, the Leviton circuit breaker cannot be reset when tested per the UL/ANSI 943 requirements for auto-monitoring. No other GFCI circuit breaker prevents reset when tested in this manner.
Amendment to UL 943
We believe and take pride in the fact that Leviton’s GFCI circuit breaker was the catalyst for the recent amendment to UL/ANSI 943 through an ANSI consensus process to expand auto-monitoring functionality to all GFCIs -- with NO exceptions. This eliminated the exceptions granted to GFCI circuit breakers for solenoid or SCR failure, allowing manufacturers until May 2021 to meet the new standard.1 At the time, Leviton applauded UL and the Standards Technical Panel for removing the exceptions. However, electricians,builders and consumers must still be cautious in their selection of GFCI circuit breakers. Removal of the exceptions does not mean a safer GFCI circuit breaker.
Recently Published UL Guidance is not in the best interest of Consumer Safety
On August 23, 2018, UL published new guidance in which they concluded that a positive visual indication of end-of-life was not necessary to satisfy the amended UL/ANSI 943 standard.2 Rather, the lack of any handle movement is an acceptable visual “indication.” What this means is that the same GFCI circuit breakers that previously relied on the exceptions to UL/ANSI 943 will continue to satisfy UL/ANSI 943without modification. At Leviton, we believe this is not in the best interest of consumer safety.
GFCI Circuit Breakers are being held to a Lower Standard than GFCI Receptacles Notwithstanding UL’s newly published “guidance,” Leviton believes it is ill-advised to expect a homeowner to recognize that a GFCI circuit breaker must be replaced when the handle doesn’t react to the press of the test button.
Our commitment to electrical and consumer safety will never waver. Our customers
expect it -- so should the entire industry.
1 UL NMX-J-520-ANCE • CSA C22.2 NO. 144.1-16 • UL 943, February 23, 2018
2 UL Technical Guidance Document, “Visual Indicator” Requirement, Standard 943