Are you a designer or manufacturer of equipment for use at work

Here you will find basic information about the roles and responsibilities of product designers, manufacturers, and those acting as their authorised representatives.

What you must do

If you design or make products, even for use in your own workplace, then they must meet minimum requirements for safety and health when first placed on the market or put into service. The responsibility for ensuring that all equipment for use at work is designed and constructed to be safe rests with the product manufacturer or their authorised representative (also known as the 'responsible person' in the context of machinery). More information can be found on OPSS website

These requirements may also need to be met if you:

  • import equipment which is not new but 'new to the UK market
  • refurbish equipment to such an extent that additional significant risks are created (eg manual machinery provided with new features like computer control)

What you should know

There is a group of product regulations concerning the safety and absence of risks to health, and other issues of public interest protection (eg environmental matters), by design and construction of most new work equipment which apply at the point products are first placed on the market or put into service. These regulations primarily require work equipment to be designed, manufactured and supplied / put in service to such a standard - and with all the parts and information necessary - to enable health and safety in their use. Relevant standards may be used to support this process.

Manufacturers in general have the following responsibilities

  • designing and manufacturing products in accordance with the essential health, safety or any other objectives of all product legislation applicable to the product
  • by carrying out (or having it carried out) the relevant conformity assessment procedure
  • drawing up and keeping the technical documentation, including Declaration of Conformity, and any associated Declarations of Incorporation or Performance
  • ensuring that products have appropriate conformity marking and are labelled: including type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification, and the name and address of the manufacturer (or where it is not possible for any of these to be indicated on the product in some cases the manufacturer must instead ensure that the information is indicated on its packaging or in a document accompanying the product)
  • accompanied by the required documents in English: usually the Instructions and safety information, in a form which is easily understood by the intended end-user, and in many cases the Declaration of Conformity.

Manufacturers must carry out sample testing on products which they have supplied, when this is appropriate in the light of the risks presented by a product to the health and safety of users. If necessary, they must also keep a register of complaints, non-conforming products and product recalls, and keep others in the supply chain informed about such monitoring. Manufacturers must ensure traceability of products by identifying to the authorities any other economic operator to whom he supplied it (for ten years from the supply date).

Where a manufacturer considers, or has reason to believe, that products which that manufacturer has placed on the market are not in conformity, it must immediately take the corrective measures necessary to bring the product into conformity; withdraw the product from the market, or recall the product.

Where the product presents a risk, the manufacturer must immediately inform the relevant market surveillance authorities of the risk, giving details of the respect in which the product is considered not to be in conformity, and any corrective measures taken. Following a request from an enforcing authority, manufacturers must provide the authority with all the information and documentation necessary to demonstrate that the product is in conformity, and cooperate with the relevant authorities to evaluate and eliminate risk posed by a product.

A manufacturer may, by written mandate, appoint a person as their authorised representative to perform specified tasks (within limits) on the manufacturer's behalf. Authorised Representatives must fulfil their obligations on behalf of the manufacturer (but manufacturers remain responsible for the product and the proper performance of any obligations the authorised representative performs on their behalf).


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Updated: 2023-02-13