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Other market surveillance authorities and their roles

Brief details on the roles of, and links to, the other main UK market surveillance authorities are provided so that questions and complaints about products can be directed to the relevant authority.

What do market surveillance authorities do?

Market surveillance authorities (MSAs) monitor and, where appropriate, enforce the requirements of European product safety law , using the powers and enforcement tools provided by UK law. Different authorities enforce different aspects of product safety legislation. For example, HSE deals with product safety for machines used at work but the safety of machines used by consumers is dealt with by trading standards. This is summarised in the table below, together with links to each authority's relevant web page.

In some cases, products may be in the cross-over area between consumer and work usage (eg some hand-held power tools and machinery for ground maintenance, such as mowers and chainsaws). In these cases, the authorities will communicate and agree who has the lead in any particular situation, as necessary.

Some product safety legislation may not be directly connected with the health and safety of users but environmental (such as noise and pollution from engines), or concerned with adverse interaction between products that may affect function
(eg electromagnetic interference). However, the common feature is that all product safety legislation concerns the design and construction of new products. The potential interactions between product safety legislation means that UK MSAs need to communicate and co-operate with each other.

BIS, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - which has the policy lead for most of the European Product Safety Directives - has set up a liaison and co-ordination committee on which the UK MSAs are represented. The committee meets periodically, helping to fulfil the requirement of Regulation (EC) 765/2008 for co-operation and co-ordination between MSAs.

Who is the relevant authority for your product?

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or in Northern Ireland (HSENI):

Most equipment used at work, including: machinery, electrical equipment, lifts, pressure systems, simple pressure vessels, explosives, substances under REACH, cableways, and gas appliances;

but not: personal protective equipment (PPE), construction products permanently incorporated into buildings, environmental noise, all issues of electromagnetic compatibility, or medical devices.

Trading standards (local authority) Find your local office

Most consumer products; toys; PPE used at work; construction products permanently incorporated into buildings; all issues of electromagnetic compatibility; radio and telecommunications equipment.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):

Medicines and medical devices (even when machinery).

Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA):

Emissions of noise and pollution from outdoor equipment and non-road mobile plant.

Office of Rail and Road (ORR):

Railway-specific equipment.

National Measurement Office (NMO): 

Energy performance of new products by design.

Updated: 2015-02-18