The European Commission's Low voltage directive guidance

Simon Barrowcliff

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Simon Barrowcliff

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Simon Barrowcliff is a highly experienced expert in product testing, assessment, certification & approvals.

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

Low voltage directive guidance

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.


Which products are covered?

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.

Products with multiple ratings, input, and output, are considered within the scope of the Low voltage directive when the highest of the voltage ratings falls within 1000V for alternating current or 1500V for direct current.

Battery-operated equipment with a supply voltage rating below 50 V AC and 75 V DC, but which can operate via mains power from an accompanying power supply unit (e.g. laptop or notebook) can also be within the LVD scope.

If equipment contains a radio device then it falls under the Radio equipment directive 2014-53-EU (RED),for product safety would use the LVD but without the lower voltage limit.


Which products are not covered?

Electrical equipment exceeding 1000V AC or 1500 V DC falls outside the low voltage directive according to Article 1 of the directive.

Battery-operated equipment outside the voltage rating is outside the scope of the LVD (exceeding 1000V AC or 1500 V DC), however, any accompanying battery charger or equipment with an integrated power supply unit within the voltage ranges of the LVD would still be included within the scope.

Electrical equipment listed in Annex II of the LVD is excluded from the scope of the LVD such as electrical equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere, this is covered by the ATEX-Directive 2014/34/EU.

Further exclusions from the Low Voltage Directive:

  • Electrical equipment for radiology and medical purposes
  • Electrical parts for goods and passenger lifts
  • Electricity meters
  • Plugs and socket outlets for domestic use
  • Electric fence controllers
  • Specialized electrical equipment, for use on ships, aircraft or railways, that comply with the safety provisions by international bodies in which the Member States participate
  • Custom built evaluation kits destined for professionals to be used solely at research and development facilities for such purposes

Adequate analysis and assessment guidance

Manufacturers are required to conduct and document an adequate analysis and assessment of the safety risks before issuing an EU Declaration of Conformity.

If the harmonized standard route has been followed, the manufacturer must apply the right one and 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 at 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 recorded in the technical documentation.


Understanding your LVD obligations

For products that fall within the LVD or RED scope, Low voltage directive testing is recommended to ensure compliance, products will be required to carry the CE mark and the correct documentation to support the manufacturers declaration of conformity.

If you would like support in understanding your obligations under the Low voltage directive, including the reviewing of your technical documentation, please contact us today.

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