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UK law on the design and supply of products

Updated: Jun 6

The UK government has introduced legislation to extend recognition of goods that meet EU requirements (including the CE marking), indefinitely, beyond 31 December 2024 for many products.

This will mean that certain goods that meet EU requirements can be placed on the GB market. These updates apply to the 18 regulations that fall under the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).

These are:

  • toys

  • pyrotechnics

  • recreational craft and personal watercraft

  • simple pressure vessels

  • electromagnetic compatibility

  • non-automatic weighing instruments

  • measuring instruments

  • measuring container bottles

  • lifts

  • equipment for potentially explosive atmospheres (UKEX)

  • radio equipment

  • pressure equipment

  • personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • gas appliances

  • machinery

  • equipment for use outdoors

  • aerosol dispensers

  • Low-voltage electrical equipment

When we discussed with the DTI the question was asked how long the government intends to keep accepting the CE Mark they said indifferently when we asked what they meant by indifferently they meant the term of this government as future governments have the right to change their minds

So the CE Marking Authority is advising our customers to apply the UKCA Mark when CE Marking their products as the only additional cost at the moment is altering the nameplate. There is some additional cost to do the certification but we worked it out to be less than half an hour of work so we provide the UKCA free of charge when we do the CE Marking

Brief details are provided on the main UK product safety legislation concerning the design and construction of equipment primarily for use at work, and some of the related supply legislation affecting similar consumer goods. More detailed information on each set of regulations can be found using the links provided below..

Most of this product supply legislation has common:

  • definitions for the terms used, like Economic Operators manufacturer, importers, distributor, authorised representatives, placing on the market,

  • common obligations on the various economic operators, especially for safety

  • when placing or making goods available on the market, including

    • meeting essential requirements

    • showing this in a technical file

  • the provision of information to the user

  • issuing a (in some cases of Performance, or Incorporation)

  • marking and labelling of the product to enable traceability

Products intended for the UK market must comply with the requirements of all applicable UK legislation, including those listed below, which require UKCA marking instead of CE marking in order to be placed on the market in GB. These documents which are used to demonstrate conformity is known as the Technical Construction File Use link below

However, products in conformity with relevant European product supply legislation and correctly bearing the CE marking will (until 31st December 2024) be treated as satisfying the requirements of the relevant UK legislation and need not bear UK marking.

Products intended for the single European market must comply with the requirements of European legislation. Use the following links;

UK product legislation continues to align with many of those EU requirements and follows the same principles for demonstrating compliance to the legislation.


UK Legislation

Section 6 of the HSW Act applies to articles and substances for use at work where other more specific product safety law does not apply In particular, section 6 applies to:

  • intermediate suppliers of machinery for use at work

  • the second-hand supply of products for use at work, including those first placed on the market before relevant product safety regulations came into effect (unless so substantially refurbished/modified as to be considered 'new' under any of the applicable product safety regulations)

  • the hiring out of equipment for use at work

  • fairground equipment

Section 6(1) of the HSW Act places a general health and safety obligation on anyone in the supply chain, so far as reasonably practicable, for when articles for use at work are being used, set, cleaned or maintained. This obligation includes providing information and instructions on safe use, including any subsequent revisions to that information, and testing/examination necessary to ensure compliance. Enforcement of section 6 of the HSW Act is undertaken by HSE.

Machinery in brief. Most new machinery is covered by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (and the Supply of Machinery (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 which added environmental aspects, but only for machinery applying pesticides). Their scope extends to other non-machinery products as defined including: safety components, interchangeable equipment, lifting accessories, chains, rope and webbing, removable transmission devices and partly completed machinery, but excludes such items as domestic electrical machines, many road going vehicles (but not machinery mounted on them), and fairground equipment. Other products that fall within the definition of machinery but are not covered by these regulations are toys and medical devices where more specific legislation applies (see below).

These regulations require that all machinery and other products in scope:

  • are designed and constructed to be safe, meeting all of the relevant essential health and safety requirements (EHSRs) listed in the regulations (they are supported by many British, European and International standards go to the UKs dedicated standards list

  • have a technical file compiled, and made available to the authorities when required, showing how the EHSRs are met

  • have appropriate conformity marking, and are correctly labelled with either the UKCA or CE mark

  • Are supplied with comprehensive instructions in English (or assembly instructions in the case of partly completed machinery)

  • are accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity (or, in the case of partly completed machinery, a Declaration of Incorporation)

before they are placed on the market for the first time (or where not placed on the market, before being put into service for the first time). Subsequent use and maintenance is covered by PUWER.

These regulations apply to Responsible Persons (as defined), particularly manufacturers or their authorised representatives, and others such as:

  • importers of non-compliant equipment

  • distributors who market products under their own name

  • those who substantially modify existing machinery, or machinery and other products in scope before they are put into service

  • those who design and construct machinery for their own use

However, the regulations do not currently apply to most intermediate suppliers of machinery who are covered by section 6 of the HSW Act.

Some products which are in scope of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations may also be covered by other product legislation in addition, including:

  • electrically powered/controlled machinery, where the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations (EMC) also apply

  • machinery incorporating radio equipment, where the Radio Equipment Regulations also apply

  • machinery incorporating pressure vessels, where the Pressure Equipment and/or Simple Pressure Vessels Regulations may also apply

  • construction products subject to the Construction Products Regulations which are machinery for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works (buildings), such as powered gates, doors, windows, shutters and blinds, ventilation and air conditioning systems

  • non-road mobile machinery with combustion engines, where emissions are covered by the Non-road Mobile Machinery (Emission of Gaseous and Particulate Pollutants) Regulations

  • the Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations

Both HSE and local trading standards enforce the provisions of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations, depending on the field of use of the equipment (HSE leads where the product is for use at work).

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 as amended replaced the previous Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 on low-voltage equipment (most electrical equipment operating between 50-1000 volts alternating current and 75-1500 volts direct current). Machinery, with a few exceptions (household appliances for domestic use, some office equipment, electric motors and switchgear), which are subject to the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations (as amended) are excluded from these electrical regulations, although the essential requirements and standards made to support these regulations can apply to electrically powered machinery by virtue of EHSR 1.5.1 of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations.

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations are supported by many dedicated standards and require that electrical equipment be appropriately marked and labelled, constructed to good engineering practice, and safe. These Regulations apply to manufacturers or their authorised representatives, importers and distributors all of whom now have a number of detailed and significant obligations to meet.

Both HSE and local trading standards enforce the provisions of these regulations, depending on the field of use of the equipment (HSE leads where the equipment is for use at work).

The Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 and The Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016 (both as amended) replace the previous Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 and Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 1991 (as amended in 1994). These regulations provide for the safety, by design and construction, of most pressure equipment and assemblies at a pressure of more than 0.5 bar.

HSE enforces the provisions of these regulations for equipment for use at work.

Duties for safety are placed on the manufacturer or their authorised representative, importers and distributors. Machinery may include pressure systems which come within scope of these regulations. In such cases, the requirements of these regulations apply to the pressure parts of the machine, alongside those requirements under the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations for the machine.

The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2016 (where amended) replaced the previous Regulations 1996, as amended in 2001 and 2005, and are usually known as ATEX but in the UK its is now known as the UKEX, for equipment and protective systems intended for use in explosive atmospheres. Safety, controlling and regulating devices intended for use outside potentially explosive atmospheres - but still contributing to the safe functioning of equipment / protective systems against explosion - also come within scope of the regulations. In addition to marking and labelling in common with other product legislation. ATEX equipment must normally bear the specific explosion protection mark - Fig 1.


Manufacturers or their authorised representative, importers and distributors must meet the requirements for safety. ATEX components (eg a rotary valve) may be incorporated within other products (eg dust extraction machinery). In such cases, the machine may be supplied with an additional Declaration of Conformity, relating specifically to the ATEX component.

The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 (as amended) replace the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006, as amended 2006, and concern the avoidance of undue electromagnetic disturbance generated by electrical equipment, and the sufficient immunity of electrical equipment against electromagnetic disturbance. As most machinery are electrically powered, it will have to meet these requirements in addition to those under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. HSE does not have a role in respect of these Regulations,even for industrial equipment, and most enforcement falls to the relevant local trading standards service. Note the EMC requirements can be meet by testing or putting justification in the technical file detailing how the regulations have been met.

The Radio Equipment Regulations 2017 (where amended) which replaced the Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000, as amended in 2003 Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000 amendments & 2003 Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000 amendments 2, concern the safety and interference with other radio equipment. Where electrical equipment incorporates radio equipment as defined, the Electrical Equipment Safety Regulations 2016 and Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 do not apply: instead the safety and functional objectives from them are subsumed into the Radio Equipment Regulations. Enforcement of these Regulations falls to the relevant local trading standards service even in the case of radio equipment for use at work, or OFCOM in the case of the protection and management of the radio spectrum.

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (where amended) concern consumer products which are not covered by any other product legislation. Enforcement of these regulations falls to the relevant local trading standards service.

The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012 (as amended) restrict the use of certain hazardous materials (lead, cadmium, mercury, etc) in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. The Office for Product Safety and Standards enforces the provisions of these regulations.

The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010 (as amended) aim to improve the environmental performance of products throughout their life-cycle, starting at a very early stage in their design. Enforcement of these regulations falls to the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

If you require CE Marking or UKCA Marking assistance Contact the team below

CE Marking Authority

Tomorrows Certification Today

Tel: +44 (0) 1779 841842

Tel; +44 (0) 7910 523528

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