Which products are affected?
The law applies to electrical equipment designed or adapted for use between 50 and 1000 volts ac (alternating current) or between 75 and 1500 volts dc (direct current).
Some parts of electrical equipment may have to meet the requirements if they are to be sold as separate items.
What are the requirements?
Electrical equipment must be:
- made in line with the principles of good engineering practice;
- marked with the CE symbol; and
- produced and sold with the European Community safety objectives, which include:
- having a brand name or trademark;
- instructions for using the product safely; and
- being able to put the product together safely and properly.
What is ‘safe’?
For a product to be safe, it must not put people or pets at risk of injury or death and it must not damage property.
To meet the safety requirements, you should follow the standards below.
Agreed European standards (known as ‘harmonised standards’) are the most important to follow, but if none exist for your product or if the current standards do not cover all the safety conditions, you should follow other standards such as international or national standards. If these standards still do not cover all the conditions, you should follow community technical specifications, accepted industry codes of practice or other expert opinion.
You can often get expert opinion from test houses. Some test houses have been acknowledged as experts under the regulations. They are known as ‘notified bodies’. You can also get an opinion from test houses approved by the National Accreditation of Measurement and Sampling (NAMAS).
For more guidance, go to www.gov.uk or contact:
The Department of Trade and Industry
1 Victoria Street
Phone: 020 7215 5000.
Are there any other requirements for specific products?
Yes. Electrical equipment will also have to meet the following requirements.
Compatibility with other electrical products – equipment must be made so that it does not affect how other electrical products work and is not affected by other electrical products.You can get guidance on the regulations from www.gov.uk
Plugs and sockets – most household electrical appliances should be fitted with a standard three-pin plug before they are sold. The plug must be certified by an independent organisation as meeting British Standard BS1363.
There are some exceptions to this, for example, electric cookers are designed to be permanently connected to the main wiring in a house.
You can sell items fitted with a plug from outside the UK (for example, a two-pin Euro plug) as long as they have been fitted with an approved three-pin conversion plug which must enclose the original plug and can only be removed with a tool.
Toys – if the electrical equipment is also a toy, it must have a CE mark to show it meets the electrical equipment and the toy safety requirements.