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The European Commission's Guide to the Low Voltage Directive

Simon Barrowcliff
By Engaged Expert Simon Barrowcliff (MEng MBA MIET CEng) Product Qualification Testing

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The European Commission's official guide to the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU (LVD) is now available for those seeking further practical advice and guidance on the Directive prior to CE Marking. This is a much expanded document compared to the guide for the previous Low Voltage Directive and hence provides additional detail on the application of this important safety directive.

How to apply the LVD Directive

The Guide has been published by the European Commission to provide a user friendly reference on how the Directive should be applied and helps to clarify the responsibilities and obligations of manufacturers, authorized representatives, distributors and importers.

The Directive applies to all electrical equipment designed for use with a voltage rating of between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current. Voltage ratings refer to the voltage of the electrical input or output, not to voltages that may appear inside the equipment.

Adequate Analysis and Assessment

Whilst there were no significant changes introduced within the new Low Voltage Directive, there has been a technical change requiring manufacturers to conduct and document an adequate analysis and assessment of the safety risks prior to the issuing of an EU Declaration of Conformity.

If the harmonized standard route has been followed, the manufacturer has a duty to apply the right one and to maintain compliance throughout the manufacturing life of the product. The manufacturer also now has an additional duty to determine if the standard is fully adequate for the product and its environment. If a product is identified to be higher risk (e.g. electrical heating appliances), the manufacturer is also responsible for performing ongoing sample testing of electrical equipment after placing it on the open market. This process of sampling must all be clearly recorded in the technical documentation.

After 13 June 2017, the safety of Telecommunications Terminal Equipment will no longer be covered by the R&TTE Directive and the safety aspects from that directive will also fall under the scope of the Low Voltage Directive. Such equipment will therefore be subject to the applicable voltage limitations of this Directive.

Understanding your LVD Obligations

If you would like support in understanding your obligations under the Low Voltage Directive, including the reviewing of your technical documentation, contact us or call UK +44 808 234 1667 or US +1 888 786 7555.

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