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The Safety Benefits of Building Switchgear to the UL 891 Standard.

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

Electrical switchgear designed to UL 891 standards helps engineers create a safe environment while optimizing energy efficiency. In this post, we discuss why it is important for safety and how you can make sure your low-voltage system minimizes potential hazards by selecting proper switching equipment specs from qualified manufacturers. High-quality products meeting the Low-Voltage standard will not only protect personnel but also ensure reliable operations with minimal loss of resources due to faulty or outdated gear.

UL 891 is a standard for switchgear developed by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent testing and safety certification organization. This standard applies to the design and construction of switchgear assemblies that are used in electrical distribution systems with a voltage rating of 1000 volts or less.

Switchgear is a type of electrical equipment that is used to control, protect, and isolate electrical circuits and equipment. It is an essential component in electrical power systems and is used in a wide range of applications, including commercial, industrial, and utility power systems.

The UL 891 standard covers both indoor and outdoor switchgear assemblies and includes requirements for the design and construction of the following types of switchgear:

  • Low-voltage power circuit breaker switchgear

  • Low-voltage air-insulated switchgear

  • Low-voltage metal-enclosed switchgear

  • Low-voltage metal-clad switchgear

In terms of design, switchgear assemblies must be constructed in such a way as to ensure that they are free from defects that would impair their safe operation. This includes requirements for the materials used, the assembly process, and the overall design of the switchgear. For example, the standard specifies that the switchgear must be constructed using materials that are resistant to fire, moisture, and other environmental factors that could affect its safe operation.

One of the key safety aspects of switchgear is its ability to protect against electrical faults. To achieve this, switchgear assemblies must be designed to include a variety of protective devices, such as circuit breakers and fuses, which can quickly detect and isolate a fault, preventing it from causing damage to the electrical system or potentially starting a fire. The UL 891 standard sets out specific requirements for the design and testing of these protective devices to ensure that they are able to effectively detect and isolate faults.

Another important aspect of switchgear safety is the provision of clear and easy-to-understand instructions for the operation and maintenance of the switchgear. The UL 891 standard includes requirements for the labeling and documentation that must be provided with switchgear assemblies to ensure that operators and maintenance personnel are able to operate and maintain the equipment safely and effectively.

Overall, the UL 891 standard provides a comprehensive set of requirements for the design, construction, and testing of switchgear assemblies, which when followed, ensures the safety and reliability of the switchgear. UL 891 certification is mandatory in North America, and it is also accepted in other countries as well, where it is a sign of standardization, safety, and reliability of the Switchgear equipment.

It is important to note that compliance with the UL 891 standard is voluntary and not mandatory, however, most manufacturers of switchgear choose to comply with the standard as it provides a recognized level of safety and quality assurance for their products. Additionally, many building codes and electrical codes also require switchgear assemblies to be certified to the UL 891 standard.

UL 891 Switchgear is a critical standard to protect the safety of operators, maintenance personnel, and the public from hazards arising from electrical distribution systems. It provides guidelines to manufacturers on how to design and construct switchgear, and it also defines standards for the safety testing of switchgear, ensuring that switchgear meets safety requirements as well as providing confidence to customers in the reliability and safety of the equipment. Enercon specializes in custom UL 891 Switchgear design and manufacturing, so if you're in need of reliable and safe equipment, we can help.

To learn more about how Enercon Engineering can help you with your switchgear needs,, read more about our engineering and fabrication capabilities or talk to our team about your project.

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