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UK law on the design and supply of products

Brief details are provided on the main UK regulations which implement European Product Safety Directives, regarding the design and construction of products. More detailed information on each set of regulations can be found using the links provided. However, the safety of substances is subject to the REACH Regulations and so is not covered here.

Contents

Most new products come within the scope of one or more of these product safety regulations and Directives, and all have a common requirement for CE marking. However, some work equipment that is not powered or used to lift - such as hand tools, racking and ladders - does not come within the scope of these regulations and must not be CE marked. Instead these products must meet section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Section 6 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act)

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 (see list below, and, for substances, REACH). In particular, section 6 applies to:

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. Enforcement of section 6 of the HSW Act is undertaken by HSE.

Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 and the Supply of Machinery (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 implement Directives 2006/42/EC and 2009/127/EC on Machinery. Their scope extends to other products such as safety components, lifting tackle and partly completed machinery, but excludes such items as domestic electrical machines and fairground equipment.

The Regulations require that all machinery:

These Regulations apply to manufacturers or their authorised representatives.
In some cases, they apply to others - such as importers of non-CE-marked equipment from outside the EU, and those who design and construct machinery for their own use. However, the Regulations do not usually apply to intermediate suppliers of CE-marked machinery, which is covered by section 6 of the HSW Act. (The non-application of the Regulations to intermediate suppliers may change in the next few years, when the Machinery Directive is brought into line with other EU legislation.) Both HSE and local trading standards enforce the provisions of these Regulations, depending on the field of use of the equipment (HSE leads where machinery is for use at work).

Further information

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994 implement Directive 2006/95/EC on low-voltage equipment (most electrical equipment operating between 50-100 volts alternating current and 75-1500 volts direct current). Machinery subject to Directive 2006/42/EC is excluded, although the essential requirements and standards made under these Regulations apply to electrically powered machinery by virtue of the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008 (Schedule 2, part 1, paragraph 1.5.1).

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations are supported by many standards and require that electrical equipment be CE marked, constructed to good engineering practice and safe. These Regulations apply to manufacturers or their authorised representatives and, in some cases, to those who supply or provide electrical equipment (including landlords). 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).

Lifts Regulations

The Lifts Regulations 1997 implement Directive 96/16/EC, as amended by 2006/42/EC. HSE enforces the provisions of these Regulations. Certain types of lift are excluded because they are subject to the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008. These exclusions include:

Lifts placed on the market or brought into use must be safe (meeting essential health and safety requirements), be CE marked and certified by a Declaration of Conformity. Information about the lift, its safe installation, use and maintenance, and other test documentation, must be provided both by and to those installing the lift.

Pressure Equipment Regulations and Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations

The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 and Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 1991 (as amended in 1994) implement Directives 97/23/EC (Pressure Equipment) and 2009/105/EC (Simple Pressure Vessels). 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. If neither is based in the Community then these duties are placed on the person who places the equipment or assembly on the market, or puts it into service. 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.

Further information

Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations

The Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996, as amended in 2001 & 2005, implement Directive 94/9/EC (as amended, usually known as the ATEX Directive) on 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 CE marking, ATEX equipment must bear the specific explosion protection mark - Fig 1. HSE enforces the provisions of these Regulations.

Fig 1. Fig 1. Explosion protection mark logo

Manufacturers or their authorised representatives (or, if neither is based in the Community, those placing equipment on the market that comes within scope of the Directive) 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.

Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations

The Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995 implement Directive 90/396/EEC concerning appliances burning gaseous fuels, excluding industrial appliances. Local trading standards services enforce the provisions of these Regulations if the gas appliance is designed for domestic use, otherwise HSE is the enforcing authority. The regulations apply to gas appliances and fittings which must undergo type examination by a notified body before they can be CE marked and supplied.

Cableway Installations Regulations

The Cableway Installations Regulations 2004 implement Directive 2000/9/EC concerning cableways designed to carry people, and their subsystems or safety components. However, they do not cover cableway installations used:

Some other similar equipment is also excluded, such as cable ferries, rack railways and tramways. HSE enforces the provisions of these Regulations. Prior authorisation from the Secretary of State for Transport for a new or modified cableway is required, and 'stage 2' authorisation is required before the cableway can be put into service. An amendment to these Regulations, concerning their application to existing cableways, is currently being considered by the Department for Transport although, as yet, no public consultation has commenced.

Placing on the Market and Supervision of Transfers of Explosives Regulations

The Placing on the Market and Supervision of Transfers of Explosives Regulations 1993 implement Directive 93/15/EC and are concerned with safety requirements for explosives, and the security controls on their transfer. These Regulations are enforced by HSE. Ammunition, explosives intended for military or police use, and pyrotechnic articles (including fireworks) are generally excluded.

Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations

The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 implement Directive 2007/23/EC on the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles and deal with the harmonisation of standards for, and safety of, pyrotechnic articles. Products covered include:

The Regulations do not apply to pyrotechnic articles intended for military or civil authority use, explosives or marine equipment (which are covered by other legislation). The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has the policy lead for these Regulations and trading standards services have the enforcement role.

Personal Protective Equipment (EC Directive) Regulations

The Personal Protective Equipment (EC Directive) Regulations 1992 (as amended in 1993, 1994 & 1996) implement Directive 89/686/EC, as amended, concerning the basic safety requirements of most personal protective equipment whether for use at work or elsewhere. All enforcement of these Regulations for both professional and private use - covering importer, manufacturer and supplier - is undertaken by trading standards services.

Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations

The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006, as amended 2006, implement Directive 2004/108/EC concerning the avoidance of undue electromagnetic disturbance generated by electrical equipment, and the sufficient immunity of electrical equipment against electromagnetic disturbance. As most machinery is 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.

Construction Products Regulations

The Construction Products Regulations 2013 The Construction Products Regulations 1991 and The Construction Products (Amendment) Regulations 1994 concerning products produced for permanent incorporation in building and civil engineering works enforce the provisions of the direct acting EU Regulation 305/2011. Where such products are also machinery (eg powered roller shutter doors), they will also have to meet the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC[75] and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2004/108/EC[76] (if electrically powered).

HSE does not have a role in respect of the Construction Products Regulations, even for industrial products enforcement falls to the relevant Trading Standards authority.

Further information

Medical Devices Regulations

The Medical Devices Regulations 2002, as amended 2003, 2005, 2007 & 2008, implement Directive 93/42/EC (as amended by 2007/47/EC) concerning medical devices used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Where a medical device is also a machine it is excluded from the scope of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, although it must still meet the relevant essential health and safety requirements of that Directive, as these are called up by these Regulations. HSE does not have a role in respect of these Regulations, even for workplace equipment, and enforcement falls to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations

The Noise Emission in the Environment by Equipment for use Outdoors Regulations 2001, as amended 2001 & 2005, implement Directive 2000/14/EC (as amended). These are environmental protection Regulations concerning noise emissions from equipment for use outdoors. Much of the equipment within the scope of this Directive may also be machinery and so will have to meet requirements under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, concerning noise exposure to the operator and other workers. Enforcement of these Regulations falls to the Vehicle Certification Authority.

Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Emission of Gaseous and Particulate Pollutants) Regulations

The Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Emission of Gaseous and Particulate Pollutants) Regulations 1999, as amended 2002, 2004, 2006 & 2008, are environmental protection Regulations which implement Directive 97/68/EC, as amended, concerning gaseous and particulate emissions from non-road mobile machinery. In addition to these Regulations, mobile construction plant powered by internal combustion engines also come within scope of the Machinery Directive. Enforcement of these Regulations falls to the Vehicle Certification Authority.

Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations

The Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Regulations 2000, as amended in 2003 & 2003, implement Directive 1999/5/EC concerning safety and interference with other radio equipment. Enforcement of these Regulations falls to the relevant local trading standards service, or OFCOM in the case of the protection and management of the radio spectrum.

General Product Safety Regulations

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 implement Directive 2001/95/EC concerning consumer products which are not covered by any other Directive. Enforcement of these Regulations falls to the relevant local trading standards service. These Regulations also provide trading standards authorities with their main enforcement powers to undertake market surveillance.

Further information

Toys (Safety) Regulations

The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 implement Directive 2009/48/EC concerning the safety of toys, and replace the 1995 Toys (Safety) Regulations. Where a toy is also a machine, powered by an electric motor or other source of non-manual power - and so potentially falling within the scope of the Machinery Directive - only the Toy Directive applies. Enforcement of these Regulations falls to the relevant local trading standards authority.

Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations

The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2008, as amended 2009, implement Directive 2002/95/EC and restrict the use of certain hazardous materials (lead, cadmium, mercury, etc) in the manufacture of various types of electronic and electrical equipment. The National Measurement Office enforces the provisions of these Regulations.

The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010 replace the 2007 and 2008 Regulations of the same name and implement Directive 2009/125/EC, which aims 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 National Measurement Office.

Updated: 2014-07-24