Electrical Equipment

Electrical equipment designed for use between 50 and 1000 volts AC or 75 and 1500 volts DC are required to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. The Regulations therefore apply to electrical equipment which 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 only required to satisfy the General Safety Requirement. They are not required to be CE marked, etc.

General Safety Requirement

Electrical equipment must be:

  • safe;
  • constructed in accordance with principles constituting good engineering practice, and in particular protecting against electric shock;
  • in conformity with the safety objectives contained in Schedule 3 to the Regulations, including:
    • marked with the manufacturer's brand name or trade mark (this can be on the packaging);
    • designed so that the equipment can be safely and properly assembled and connected;
    • instructions and information required for the equipment to be used safely must be marked on the equipment or in an accompanying notice;
    • operate at a safe temperature with no dangerous arcing or radiation

Satisfying the General Safety Requirement

1. If the electrical equipment complies with a harmonised European standard, it is automatically taken to be safe.
2. If there is no relevant harmonised European standard, compliance with international standards will be sufficient.
3. If there are no relevant international standards, compliance with a national standard will be sufficient provided that standard includes everything in the General Safety Requirement.

Certain notified bodies are permitted to test and report on electrical equipment and to state whether or not they are safe. Please contact your local Trading Standards Service for a list of these bodies.

Labelling and records

A manufacturer (or his authorised representative within the European Economic Area) must:
  • affix a CE mark 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:
    • - the name and address of the manufacturer or his authorised representative;
    • a description of the electrical equipment;
    • a reference to the harmonised standards;
    • if no harmonised standard, then a reference to other specifications;
    • identification of the person who will enter into commitments on behalf of the manufacturer or authorised representative (if appropriate);
    • the last two digits of the year in which the CE marking was affixed;
  • compile and hold technical documentation, which must be kept for at least ten years after manufacture of that model of equipment has ceased. This should contain: 
    • a general description of the electrical equipment;
    • the conceptual design, manufacturing drawings, details of components, etc., along with information to help interpretation of these;
    • a list of the standards with which the electrical equipment complies, or a description of what has been done to ensure compliance with the general safety requirement if standards were not used;
    • results and reports of tests, examinations, calculations, etc.

Who should keep the documentation?

The declaration of conformity and the technical documentation must be kept and be available for inspection by enforcement bodies (including Trading Standards) by:

  • the manufacturer if he is in the EEA;
  • his authorised representative if he is outside the EEA;
  • if neither of the above, by the first person to supply the equipment in the EEA.

Quality Assurance

The manufacturer must ensure that his manufacturing process always produces electrical equipment that conforms to the technical documentation. In practice, this means having adequate quality assurance systems.

Other CE Marking Regulations that may apply:

  • Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2005 (contains provisions prohibiting electromagnetic emissions from electrical equipment interfering with the operation of other equipment).
  • Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995 (also contain a General Safety Requirement).
  • Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000.
  • Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992.
  • Medical Devices Regulations 2002 (further information is available from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency website or telephone 020 7084 2000).

This information is not an authoritative interpretation of the law and is intended only for guidance. For further information, please contact your local Trading Standards Service.