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Outlet and Switch Box

The Outlet and Switch Box Section develops technical standards and guidelines, influences government affairs and trade issues, and collects market data on its products.

Scope (Excerpt)

Metallic, nonmetallic, and composite electrical boxes of the type described in NEMA Outlet and Switch Box Standards (e.g. NEMA OS 1 and NEMA OS 2), for use in applications of 1000 volts AC and 1200 volts DC or less.

Click here for detailed product scope information.

Technical Activities

Standards play a vital part in the design, production, and distribution of products destined for both national and international com­merce. Sound technical standards benefit the user, as well as the manufacturer, by improving safety, bringing about economies in product, eliminating misunderstandings between manufacturer and purchaser, and assisting the pur­chaser in selecting and obtaining the proper product for his particular need.

NEMA devotes much of its time, effort, and resources to voluntary standardization activities. Many NEMA standards are become American National Standards under the procedures of the American National Standards Institute. The approval of NEMA outlet box standards are is carried out under the Accredited Canvass method however the decision on how NEMA standards are approved as ANSI standards rests with the particular NEMA Section concerned.

In 2017, key technical activities include:

  • Publishing new NEMA OS 4 standard for air-sealed electrical outlet boxes
  • Development of Public Inputs for the 2020 National Electrical Code
  • Submittal of proposal to amend the Canadian Electrical Code, Part I to define "meeting rooms" and to require the number of receptacles in meeting rooms according to room size.
  • Development of annex in UL 514A, Metallic Outlet Boxes, to document and define the test apparatus for full-scale testing of metallic boxes installed in fire resistive construction per UL 263.
  • Completion of amendments to trinational standard UL 514A/CSA C22.2 No. 18.1/NMX-J-023/1-ANCE
  • Updating of the NEMA OS 3 training module to align with the 2017 NEC and amendments made in the new edition of NEMA OS 3-2016.
  • Development of a NEMA Engineering Bulletin conveying the industry perspective on wall box opening calculations in fire resistive construction.
  • Updating of the NEMA Whitepaper: Protection of Receptacle Outlets in Wet Locations According to the National Electrical Code.

Government Relations

Through NEMA, the section develops industry positions on legislative and regulatory initiatives that may affect member products, markets, and customers. NEMA's work has resulted in contributions to public policy development and in promoting competitiveness, technological progress, and public safety. On the Government Affairs homepage members can search for and e-mail federal representatives to convey opinions regarding energy policy or other issues related to the electroindustry.

NEMA Government Affairs provides specific services to its members and information in the areas of Environment, Health & Safety; Energy; and International Trade & Commerce.

Market Economics

NEMA Business Information Services (NEMA/BIS) provides market data to the public as well as to members.

For members:

Through NEMA, member companies are able to develop and implement tailored, industry-specific market and statistical programs that benefit participating companies. Reports may include:

  • Product orders and sales
  • Market forecasting
  • Shipments by trading areas
  • Channels of distribution
  • Financial and operating ratios
  • Wages and benefits
  • Foreign trade

The association also conducts economic analyses on the impact of legislation and regulations on member products, and monitors and reports on key industry market indicators. All programs comply with NEMA statistical confidentiality policies. For more information, please see Business & Economy.


Membership in NEMA is open to any firm actively engaged in the manufacture in North America of a product within the NEMA scope and for sale in the open market. Membership of foreign firms is subject to product section policies and NEMA Board of Governors approval.

NEMA operates on a fee-for-service basis. Each product section establishes its projects and activities and approves an annual operating budget. Visit Joining NEMA for more information on membership.


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