What is Product Safety?
Product safety is the ability of a product to be safe for intended use, as determined when evaluated against a set of established rules.
Product Safety - Why is it necessary?
It is unlikely that anyone would deliberately place an unsafe product on the market, but what is meant by safe?
The legislation sets out clear test and documentary requirements that manufacturers and distributors placing equipment on the European market, must follow to demonstrate that their products meet defined safety criteria and are safe for intended use. Evidence that the prescribed legislation has been conformed with can be demanded by the enforcement authorities (Trading Standards, HSE etc.), within strict timeframes (normally 48 hours).
Product Safety - What are the legalities?
In Europe, the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) 2006/95/EC applies to the majority of electrical equipment in use at home, the office or industry. The Directive was re-codified 2 years ago, without major change, and the current directive is effectively an amalgamation of 73/23/EEC (the old LVD) and 97/68/EC (the CE Marking Directive). The LVD requires that electrical equipment can only be placed on the market if it does not endanger the safety of persons, property or domestic animals.
The LVD is applicable, with a few exceptions, to any electrical equipment designed for use with a voltage rating of between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current (A.C.) and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current (D.C). In the UK, this European law is implemented by Statutory Instrument 3260 (SI 3260).
The CE Mark is a mandatory symbol of compliance with all relevant directives (unless in transition) Therefore, if your product operates within the specified voltage range then conformance with the LVD is likely to be required.
Finally it must be understood that the LVD is a “test” directive and that it is a requirement that a safety test report is included in the Technical File (see How We Can Help section).
Product Safety - Reducing the risk?
The best way to minimise the risk of not meeting the LVD is to ensure that at the design stage the product development takes account of any relevant harmonised safety standards and the Principle Safety Objectives of the Directive. It is also prudent for it to have an independent Basic Safety Assessment (BSA) conducted at prototype stage to check the design is likely to meet the requirements before committing to volume manufacture. Importers can also find a BSA a very useful tool in helping to establish the accuracy or otherwise of test reports from outside of the EU.
Product Safety - How can we help?
RN Electronics Ltd can help you meet the requirements of the Low Voltage Directive (LVD - 2006/95/EC). There are four key mandatory aspects needed to demonstrate conformity to the LVD has been meet, these are:
• The Technical File containing:
• The Safety Test Report
• The manufacturers Declaration of Conformity (DOC)
• Continued Conformity process.
RN Electronics can support the entire process to ensure the equipment, documentation and processes comply. We can identify the correct safety standards to apply and provide the independent test and assessment documentation via reports and certificates to ensure that any review of your Technical File is satisfied. In particular, we can assist with Technical File compilation, LVD related advice for quality management systems, safety test and assessment (full or partial) and consultancy.