Standards Matter

Household Oven and Range Standards: Helping to Mitigate the Risk of Burns

June 17, 2021

Baby reaching for oven knobs with pan of hot food on range top

Why it matters

According to a 2020 report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most burns associated with cooking equipment are caused by contact with a hot object or liquid, rather than by fire or flame. Ranges and ovens, the report states, were the most common source of burns. Additionally, the NFPA reported that children face a higher risk, as they account for only 6% of the population, but a much larger percentage of non-fire burn injuries from cooking equipment.1

What we're doing

By specifying maximum surface temperature rises, UL 858, the Standard for Household Electric Ranges helps the outside of ovens stay much cooler than the inside during operation, helping to keep children from getting burned if they come in contact with doors, handles or knobs. The Standard outlines a surface temperature test for the exterior of ranges and ovens, as well as handles and control knobs during operation. During normal operation, the surfaces may not exceed 59°C (106°F) on bare or painted metal, or 75°C (135°F) on plastic. Likewise, handles and knobs may not exceed 42°C (76°F) on metal, or 58°C (104°F) on plastic.

Additionally, UL 858 limits electric range top temperatures to help prevent fires caused by overheating foods and liquids. In order to comply with the Standard, ranges must pass a Coil Surface Unit Cooking Oil Ignition Test, in which a cast iron pan is placed in the center of a coil cooktop element and filled with cooking oil. The unit will not pass if it is hot enough to cause ignition of the cooking oil when tested on its maximum heat setting for 30 minutes.

How you can help

Our Standards are developed through a consensus-based process, which integrates scientific and testing expertise with input from our Standards Technical Panel (STP) members and stakeholders. STP members represent a variety of interests, including industry, academia, government, retail and manufacturing. If you are involved in the design, manufacturing, sale or repair of home appliances, and you would like to help improve safety in your industry, please submit a proposal or apply to join an STP.