New Directive on electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits [EU]

Directive 2014/35/EU adapts Directive 2006/95/EC to Decision No 768/2008/EC of 9 July 2008 on a common framework for the marketing of products.

Scope of Directive 2014/35/EU

Directive 2014/35/EU shall apply to “electrical equipment designed for use with a voltage rating of between 50 and 1 000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1 500 V for direct current” (Article 1). The equipment and phenomena listed in Annex II is excluded from the scope of the Directive.

Obligations of economic operators

When placing their electrical equipment on the market, manufacturers must mainly ensure that it has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the safety objectives set out in Annex I. Another important obligation is to draw up the technical documentation referred to in Annex III as well as carry out the conformity assessment procedure referred to in Annex III or have it carried out (Article 6).

Importers are primarily obliged to ensure “that the appropriate conformity assessment procedure has been carried out by the manufacturer” and that “the manufacturer has drawn up the technical documentation, that the electrical equipment bears the CE marking and is accompanied by the required documents”. They must also ensure that the equipment bears a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification, as well as the name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address of the manufacturers (where that is not possible, this information may be indicated on its packaging or in a document accompanying the electrical equipment) (Article 8).

When making electrical equipment available on the market distributors must mainly verify that the equipment “bears the CE marking, that it is accompanied by the required documents and by instructions and safety information in a language which can be easily understood by consumers and other end-users in the Member State in which the electrical equipment is to be made available on the market”. They must also ensure that the equipment bears a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification, as well as the name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address of the manufacturer and importer (where that is not possible, this information may be indicated on its packaging or in a document accompanying the electrical equipment) (Article 9).

Conformity of the electrical equipment

To note, the new Directive provides for three types of presumption of conformity:
– Presumption of conformity on the basis of harmonised standards (Electrical equipment which is in conformity with harmonised standards or parts of standards the references of which have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union is presumed to be in conformity with the safety objectives established in Annex I covered by those standards or parts of standards).
– Presumption of conformity on the basis of international standards
– Presumption of conformity on the basis of national standards

The CE marking must be affixed visibly, legibly and indelibly to the electrical equipment or to its data plate and, where that is not possible, it may be affixed to the packaging and to the accompanying document.

Furthemore, the procedure for dealing with electrical equipment presenting a risk at national level is set out in Article 19.

Directive 2014/35/EU also establishes a transitional provision allowing Member States to make available on the market electrical equipment complying with Directive 2006/95/EC and which was placed on the market before 20 April 2016.

Directive 2014/35/EU must be transposed into national legislation by 19 April 2016. It shall apply from 20 April 2016. Directive 2006/95/EC shall be repealed with effect from 20 April 2016.

As a reminder, in a communication published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) of 28 November 2013, the European Commission (EC) published new titles and references of European Union (EU) harmonised standards for low voltage electrical equipment. The new titles and references are published in the framework of the implementation of Directive 2006/95/EC.

Sources : Directive 2014/35/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits, OJEU L 96 of 29 March 2014, p. 357–374

Red-on-line EHS Legal Counsel