Essential information for suppliers of electrical equipment, including UKCA marking
This guidance is for England, Scotland and Wales
Electrical equipment is required to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016, which have been amended the Product Safety and Metrology etc (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. There areseparate provisions made for Northern Ireland to take account ofthe Northern Ireland Protocol whilst it is in force.
The Regulations apply to electrical equipment that is designed to be connected to a domestic mains electricity supply, as well as to some industrial equipment. Components of electrical equipment are also covered if they are to be supplied as separate items.
Electrical equipment designed for use between 50-1,000 volts AC or 75-1,500 volts DC must be safe, constructed in accordance with principles constituting good engineering practice and conform to specific regulatory safety objectives.
If the electrical equipment complies with a designatedstandard*, it is automatically taken to be safe. There are specific requirements for the manufacturer of the product, including affixing the UKCA mark, drawing up and holding adeclaration of conformity, and keeping technical information for inspection purposes.
[*'Designated standards' are those approved by the Secretary of State and published by the British Standards Institution (BSI).]
Second-hand items (including items for hire and equipment supplied as part of a furnished accommodation) are required to satisfy the principal elements of the safety objectivesonly. They are not required to have the UKCA mark etc.
The following terms are used throughout this guidance:
Principal safety objectives
Electrical equipment must:
Obligations of manufacturers
SATISFYING THE PRINCIPAL SAFETY OBJECTIVES
Manufacturers must have adequate internal production control (quality assurance) as ameans of satisfying conformity, achieved through taking responsibility for the technical documentation andmonitoring manufacturing processes. Either the manufacturer or (by written mandate) the authorised representatives should draw up a declaration of conformity in accordance with Schedule 8 to the Regulations and apply the UKCA mark (as below).
If the electrical equipment complies with a designatedstandard, there is a presumption that it meets theprincipal safety objectives.
LABELLING AND RECORDS
A manufacturer or their authorised representativemust do the following.
Ensure that the electrical equipmentbears a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification.
Indicate on the electrical equipment the manufacturer's name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to indicate these on the equipment itself, then it may be indicated on the product packaging or accompanying documents. These have to be legible and easily understood by the end users and market surveillance authorities. In the UK it must be in English.
Affix a UKCA mark to the equipment, the packaging, instruction sheet or guarantee certificate. The UKCAmark is a declaration that the equipment complies with the Regulations.
There will be a crossover period for the UKCA whereby the CE mark can still be used until 31 December 2021 in GB. Further to this, until 31 December 2022, the UKCA marking may be affixed to a label affixed to the electrical equipment or a document accompanying the equipment, rather than being affixed to the equipment itself.
Where NI is involved, there is a further mark that is used: the UKNI mark.
Northern Ireland qualifying goods - this is, those that are to remain on the NI market and not undergo a customs procedure to be shipped to GB - can continue to use the CE mark beyond this date. For goods that are to be shipped for the GB market, UKCA marking rules apply.
For more information on the UKCA, UKNI and CE marks, please see 'Product safety: due diligence'.
Manufacturers must also draw up and hold a 'declaration of conformity', which should contain:
Compile and hold technical documentation, whichshould contain:
Obligations of importers
An importer is a person or business based in the UK who places equipment on the GB market from a country outside the UK. Importersmust not place any electrical equipment on the market unless they have assurances that itcomplies with the principal safety objectives (see above) and ensure that the manufacturers have met all their obligations in relation to conformity assessment procedures, technical documentation, UKCA marking and labelling requirements. This must be made available to an enforcement body on request.
Importers must also indicate on the electrical equipment their name or registered trade mark and a postal address at which they can be contacted. To assist with the changeover, the UK is applying a transitional period ending on 31 December 2022 to allow UK importersof goods from the EEA or Switzerland (that, before the EU exit date, were considered as distributors) to provide their details on the packaging or in accompanying documentation as an alternative to placing them on the equipment itself.
There are particular rules for goods that are not qualifying NI goods, the definition of which is found in the Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 (see link in 'Key legislation' below).
Additional obligations of manufacturers and importers
Manufacturers and importers have additional obligations; they must:
Obligations of distributors
Distributors must also act with care to ensure that they supply only equipment for which the manufacturers and importers have carried out their duties as above. They should verifythat the electrical equipment :
Where a distributor considers or has reason to believe that electrical equipment is not in conformity with the principal elements of the safety objectives or any of the requirements above, the distributor must not make the electrical equipment available on the market until it has been brought into conformity.
Who should keep the documentation?
The declaration of conformity and the technical documentation must be kept and be available for inspection by enforcement bodies (including trading standards) by:
These must be kept for a period of 10 years beginning on the day on which the electrical equipment isplaced on the market.
[*You can continue to use authorised representatives if they are based inthe UK, the EU, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland and Turkey. However, if you need to appoint a new authorised representative to put your goods on the market after Brexit, the new authorised representative will need to be based in the UK.]
Safe connection for domestic electrical equipment
If the electrical equipment is a plug-in device (such as a charger) intended to be connected, without the use of a mains lead or plug, directly to the UK public electricity supply via a socket outlet conforming toBS1363: 13 A plugs, socket-outlets, adaptors and connection units, the economic operator must ensure that the plug-in device is compatible with socket outlets conforming to BS 1363.
Where the electrical equipment has a flexible lead and plug assembly, such as a vacuum cleaner, and is intended to be connected to the UK public electricity supply by means of a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363, the economic operator must ensure that that plug is a correctly fitted standard plug fitted with a BS 1362 fuse, or is a correctly fitted non-UK plug conforming to the safety provisions ofIEC884-1 and correctly fitted with a compatible conversion plug.
Many modern electrical appliances are now fitted with 'smart' technology, some connected via bluetooth and others via apps on computer, laptopor mobile devices. Such devices may also be covered by the Radio Equipment Regulations 2017.
Other UKCA marking regulations that may apply
For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.
Last reviewed / updated: May 2021
In this update
Definition of 'designated standard' added
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.
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