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Standards matter: Keep up-to-date with requirements

29 October 2021

FROM 1 JANUARY 2021, UKCA marking replaced CE marking as the conformity assessment mark for goods placed on the market in Great Britain. Here, Tim Preece explains what this means for UK businesses

Northern Ireland has specific guidance and either CE marking or combined CE/UKNI marking will be required to place goods on the Northern Ireland market (as well as for Northern Ireland goods placed on the GB market, depending on the assessment body location)

To allow time to adjust to the new requirements, businesses will still be able to use the CE marking until 1 January 2023 in most cases, but after this date, application of a UKCA marking will become mandatory,

The technical requirements (‘essential requirements’) you must meet – and the conformity assessment processes and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity – are largely the same as they were for the CE marking.

The harmonised standards cited in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) for CE marking have become ‘designated’ standards - the list of standards allows businesses to show compliance with legislation (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/designated-standards).

The office for product safety and standards is responsible for product safety and is owner of the policies. Full information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/product-safety-for-businesses-a-to-z-of-industry-guidance

Points for consideration

1. Product safety regulations for business bringing product into the UK ('placing on the market') will require any organisation to have either an authorised representative or an importer. Importer rights can be accrued – so if a business imports direct from Europe where there is no GB representation, it risk being legally responsible for the importer obligations.

2. From the 1st January 2021, the products should have the details of the UK authorised representative or importer as part of the labelling of the product. Currently this can be on accompanying documentation.

The government guidance states - As an importer, you’ll need to make sure that:

a. goods are labelled with your company’s details, including your company’s name and a contact address. Until 31 December 2022 you can provide these details on the accompanying documentation rather than on the good itself if you import certain goods from the EEA (and in some cases Switzerland). After 31 December 2022, your details must be affixed to the product or, in circumstances where the legislation allows, on the packaging or an accompanying document. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/placing-manufactured-goods-on-the-market-in-great-britain

3. CE marking will only be possible for placing goods onto the market in Great Britain while the regulations are the same – which is currently the situation. A call for evidence has been issued to review these regulations.

4. Products can be dual marked with CE marking and UKCA marking provided the regulations remain the same and therefore, compliance is the same for both UKCA and CE marking. The marks must have the appropriate address on the marking - so, for example, the GB address for UKCA marking. Businesses should remember that when exporting to Europe, they will need an authorised representative or importer inside the EU for the CE marking.

So, while businesses are able to use the CE marking for goods imported into the UK, to fully comply it is recommended that you read the Government’s easement alongside the product safety regulations that apply to your product.

Machinery Directive: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supply-of-machinery-safety-regulations-2008

Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008:  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pressure-equipment-safety-regulations-2016

While the Government has provided easement for goods imported into the UK, allowing the use of the CE marking during 2021 and 2022, the product safety regulations came into effect 1st January 2021.

Tim Preece, is technical officer at the British Compressed Air Society.