CE Marking & Purchasing from outside EEA
- Duties of the Supplier
- Conformity Assessments
- Is a CE Mark a Guarantee of Safety?
- What about China Export [CE]?
- Further Information and Links
When buying new equipment (including machinery), we are required to check it complies with all relevant supply laws. This means checking it is: CE marked; supplied with a Declaration of Conformity and user instructions in English; and free from any obvious defect (such as missing or damaged guards).
Actually, checking the above can be difficult enough when purchasing from within the EEA but everything gets more difficult when sourcing equipment directly from outside of the economic region.
It is for this reason that all Colleges and Departments are urged to buy from or through a EEA supplier.
You already know that new equipment and machinery should have CE marking when you buy it. However, CE marking is only a claim by the manufacturer that the equipment is safe and that they have met relevant supply law. We – as the users – also have to check it is actually safe for your use. To understand what this means in practice when buying new machinery, it will help to understand the manufacturer’s responsibilities
The supplier of equipment within the EEA must ensure that the equipment is compliant with European legislation; including:
- affixing CE marking to the equipment to show they have complied with all relevant supply laws;
- issue a Declaration of Conformity for the equipment/machine; and,
- provide you, the buyer, with instructions in English that explain how to install, use and maintain the machinery safely.
If we are to purchase directly from outside of the EEA then it will be Bangor University's duty to ensure the above are fulfilled.
Before placing new products on the market, or bringing them into service, for the first time, the Responsible Person (the manufacturer or his authorise representative, or when we source direct, Bangor University) must undertake the conformity assessment procedures that apply to the product. This may include second-hand products "new" to the market such as imports from outside Europe of non-CE marked products, or products so substantially refurbished as to be considered new.
Depending on the Directive and the nature of the product and risk conformity assessment ranges from self-assessment of the product to third party type-examination and /or full quality assurance. Full details of the procedures (also referred to as modules) are given, normally within the Annexes, of each European product safety Directive.
Manufacturers and their authorised representatives (and Bangor University if we are the direct-importer) need to find out what these procedures are for any of their products destined for the European market. Information generated and obtained during the conformity assessment procedure must be retained by the Responsible Person as part of the product's technical file.
Further information can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/work-equipment-machinery/conformity.htm
By affixing the CE mark, the manufacturer is claiming that the machinery complies with the law. CE marking in itself does not guarantee safety. You still need to check the equipment / machine is safe for use on your site, before it is used.
In recent years we have become accustomed to seeing products which bears the CE mark, often using its presence as an indicator of safety. The reason for this assumption is that goods and equipment with CE marking demonstrate that they meet relevant and strict EU standards.
Unfortunately, some Universities have become aware of a very similar mark which the majority of consumers and even sellers could mistake as the CE mark of the European Union but actually is something completely different. This alternative CE mark means "China Export" and only means that the product was manufactured in China. It is important that staff/students at the University understand that this mark does not imply that the equipment is safe and compliant with standards for sale within the European market.
Above are examples of both logos, as you can see that the letters in the "China Export" logo are sitting very close to each other, but, still bear a striking resemblance to the official European marking. The China Export logo is not registered; it does not confirm positive test results and is placed on products by manufacturers arbitrarily.
Genuine CE marking should be of a of a minimum size - at least 5mm tall (unless this is not possible for very small products) and maintain the proportions shown in the example whatever the size, be attached to the product visibly, legibly and indelibly in the immediate vicinity of the name of the manufacturer or his authorised representative.
When in doubt ask for the "Declaration of Conformity" and do your own reassurance checks to confirm it complies with PUWER.
- Conformity Assessments (HSE)
- Guidance on Purchasing Machinery (HSE)
- European Law on Supply of New Products
- Supplying New Machinery (Duties of the Importer) (HSE)
- Second-Hand Equipment Guidance (HSE)
- Refurbished & Modified Machinery (HSE)