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CE Safety Mark - Why Electrical Safety Testing Counts

Stephen Tait Element Product Testing Expert
By Engaged Expert Stephen Tait

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CE Marking is a mandatory conformity mark for most goods sold within the European Economic Area (EEA).

What is CE Marking? 

CE Marking is essentially a self-declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets safety, health, and environmental requirements and therefore allows free movement within the European marketplace.  However, self-declaration still requires a level of technical support to allow this claim to be made by a manufacturer.  As part of the 2016 NLF updates, risk analysis in relation to the essential requirements of the legislation has been made an important part of the CE Marking process.

 

CE safety mark and risk

Manufacturers must consider and record in their risk analysis, all possible risks posed by their product to determine:

  1. Which essential requirements apply to their product
  2. How they are addressing the identified risks to ensure compliance with the applicable essential requirements (e.g. through the application of harmonized standards, and third-party accredited testing)

There are two specific business risks associated with CE Marking:

  1. Are you willing to take the risk of self-declaring against the CE legislation without satisfactory evidence that your product meets all the essential requirements of the legislation (e.g. Low Voltage or Machinery Safety Directives)?
  2. Ensuring your product is safe, not just functionally acceptable, but also ensuring the devices are used in a way that will not cause harm to the user, domestic animals, and property during installation, use, or maintenance (the ‘What if?’ scenario).

The combination of both risks and not acting on them correctly could be very costly both financially and potentially loss of reputation and creditability in the marketplace. Everyday product recalls are listed on the RAPEX website on the basis that devices do not meet the essential health and safety requirements of the CE marking legislation and are therefore potentially not safe for use; one of the most common risks being identified with these devices are defects that could cause Electric Shock or Fire.

The best way to mitigate potential product recalls and ensure you meet the correct requirements is to progress with third-party testing.

 

Why is electrical safety testing required?

Electrical safety testing using a harmonized standard is a key step to ensure products meet the essential requirements of the Low Voltage Directive (LVD) or Machinery Safety Directives and thus ensure a manufacturer can demonstrate presumption of conformity to the applicable legislation. Using a third-party test laboratory is the most efficient and reliable way to ensure devices are fully compliant with harmonized standards and suitable for their end application. Third-party testing from an accredited test laboratory guarantees the product has been tested in accordance with the correct requirements of the standard and gives the manufacturer confidence when signing the final part of the process, the Declaration of Conformity. It is essential that products have undergone the correct level of test and review to ensure that:

  1. The product is not liable for overheating and causing fire
  2. The product has suitable electrical isolation  and cannot cause an electric shock hazard
  3. Potential non-primary use case risks have been considered or identified
  4. The product is correctly marked and the instructions for use are clear and allow the user to install and operate the equipment safely

Appropriate third-party safety testing will increase credibility when looking to sell products to a global market. Most countries will not accept test reports unless they have been issued by an appropriately accredited test laboratory. This is also true for retailers and consumers who require assurance that a product is safe and will not cause issues when placed on the market or put into service.

 

How Element can help?

If you would like further advice about your CE Marking requirements and preparing a product for electrical safety testing, please contact one of our safety testing experts today. We will ensure your products, services, and solutions meet all relevant, internationally recognized standards.

Element will not only make them safe, compliant, and fit for purpose, but we will give you the best possible foundation for commercial success.

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