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Frequently asked questions

Suppliers

What do suppliers have to do?

Intermediate suppliers - for example distributors, agents, retailers and auctioneers - must supply safe and compliant products, with the correct documentation. Most new products come within the scope of one or more EU product supply Directives and therefore should:

However, if a product is only partly completed machinery (intended for assembly with other equipment), it should not be CE marked. For partly completed machinery, a Declaration of Incorporation should be provided instead of a Declaration of Conformity.

Products where CE marking is not required - which may be the case for second-hand products - are still required to be safe, so far as reasonably practicable, and accompanied by adequate information to enable safe use, under section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

What checks should I make before I supply equipment?

Where a relevant product supply Directive applies, you should ensure that products are CE marked, with user instructions in English and (in most cases) accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity. Partly completed machinery should not be CE marked and should instead be accompanied by a Declaration of Incorporation. Electrical equipment subject to the Low Voltage Directive should be CE marked with key information provided, but does not need to be accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity.

Where reasonable, particularly if you are involved in the assembly or installation of a product, you should also check for any obvious safety defects. Guidance on doing so is given in the Checklist section of HSE's: Supplying new machinery.

However, suppliers are NOT expected to:

  • check the product's design against the applicable essential requirements, if that product is CE marked
  • unbox and check every item supplied
  • assemble boxed items to make such checks

If CE marking is not required for the product - which is the case with most second-hand / refurbished products, as well as any new ones not subject to a relevant product supply Directive - suppliers must comply with the general requirements of section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work Act:

'...to supply products that are safe and without risks to health when being used, set, cleaned and maintained and provide user information, so far as reasonably practicable'.

What responsibilities do I have if I import equipment from outside Europe?

If the product is not CE marked but should be because it comes under a relevant product supply Directive, the person / organisation placing it on the European market (or bringing it into use for the first time in Europe), must comply with the requirements of the relevant Directive as if they were the manufacturer.

These requirements are implemented by national law and apply to both new and second-hand products not previously placed on the European market. However, if the product was originally placed on the European market prior to the implementation of the relevant Directive, it only needs to meet the requirements of section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

Updated: 2014-09-01