The advice sheets below have the latest information on product safety. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Enforcement & Regulatory option).
In the guide
This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales
Electrical equipment designed for use between 50-1,000 volts AC or 75-1,500 volts DC must be 'safe', constructed in accordance with principles constituting good engineering practice and conform to specific regulatory safety objectives.
If the electrical equipment complies with a harmonised European standard, it is automatically taken to be safe. There are specific requirements for the manufacturer of the product, including affixing the CE mark, drawing up and holding an EC declaration of conformity, and keeping technical information for inspection purposes.
Electrical equipment is required to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016. The Regulations therefore apply to electrical equipment that is designed to be connected to a domestic mains electricity supply, as well as to some industrial equipment.
Components of electrical equipment are also covered if they are to be supplied as separate items.
Second-hand items (including items for hire and equipment supplied as part of a furnished accommodation) are required to satisfy the principal elements of the safety objectives only. They are not required to be CE marked etc.
Electrical equipment must:
A manufacturer or their authorised representative within the European Economic Area (EEA) must do the following.
Ensure that the electrical equipment bears a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification.
Manufacturers must indicate on the electrical equipment their name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to indicate these on the equipment itself, then it may be indicated on the product packaging or accompanying documents. These have to be legible and easily understood by the end users and market surveillance authorities. In the UK it must be in English.
Affix a CE mark (opens in a new window) to the equipment, the packaging, instruction sheet or guarantee certificate. The CE mark is a declaration that the equipment complies with the Regulations.
Draw up and hold an 'EC declaration of conformity', which should contain:
Compile and hold technical documentation, which should contain:
Importers must not place any electrical equipment on the market unless they have assurances that it complies with the principal safety objectives and ensure that the manufacturers have met all their obligations in relation to conformity assessment procedures, technical documentation, CE marking and labelling requirements. This must be made available to an enforcing authority on request.
Importers must also indicate on the electrial equipment their name or registered trade mark and a postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to put all the information on the equipment itself, importers can put their full name or trademark and details on the packaging instead.
Distributors have a responsibility to ensure that instructions and safety information accompany the electrical equipment before placing it on the market. They must also check with the importer that the manufacturer of the electrical equipment has met their obligations with regard to the labelling requirements. Distributors must also check that the electrical equipment bears a label that correctly identifies the importer.
Manufacturers and importers have additional obligations; they must:
The declaration of conformity and the technical documentation must be kept and be available for inspection by enforcement bodies (including trading standards) by:
These must be kept for a period of 10 years beginning on the day on which the electrical equipment is placed on the market.
If the electrical equipment is a plug-in device (such as a charger) intended to be connected, without the use of a mains lead or plug, directly to the United Kingdom public electricity supply via a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363: A plugs, socket-outlets, adaptors and connection units, the economic operator must ensure that the plug-in device is compatible with socket outlets conforming to BS 1363.
Where the electrical equipment has a flexible lead and plug assembly, such as a vacuum cleaner, and is intended to be connected to the United Kingdom public electricity supply by means of a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363, the economic operator must ensure that that plug is a correctly fitted standard plug fitted with a BS 1362 fuse, or is a correctly fitted non-UK plug conforming to the safety provisions of IEC 884-1 and correctly fitted with a compatible conversion plug.
Failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence, which may lead to a fine or imprisonment. If a product causes injury or damage, substantial compensation may be payable, whether or not criminal proceedings are brought.
Last reviewed / updated: July 2017
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.