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Market surveillance

The UK has left the EU, new rules from January 2021

The transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.

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Market surveillance is the activity undertaken by public authorities across Europe, through which the safety and compliance of products with European product safety law is checked. Where necessary, action may be taken to secure both a high level of protection for the health and safety of consumers, workers and the environment, and that the EU free market in this area operates correctly. This activity has traditionally been called 'product safety work' in HSE.

Over the last 10-20 years there have been various market surveillance provisions under different areas of European law. The European Commission reviewed these provisions and published a decision in 2008 proposing improvements, to align national systems and provide a consistent framework. These were brought into effect by a new direct acting Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008, concerning accreditation and market surveillance.

European Regulation (EC) No. 765/2008, concerning accreditation and market surveillance

This European law, which came into effect from 1 January 2010 and is binding upon all member states, provides a consistent framework for the rules on:


Each member state must appoint a single national accreditation body, whose role is to assess, against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.

The Accreditation Regulations 2009 appointed the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) as the national accreditation body for the UK.

Market surveillance

All member states are required to:

Market surveillance in the UK is carried out by a number of organisations who lead in different areas. HSE's role as an MSA is primarily with regard to equipment used at work.

Controls on products entering the Community market

All member states are required to:

Since 2009, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has taken on the majority of Customs work at the UK border. In a number of areas, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) retains policy responsibility for border activity and, in this regard, the UKBA acts as a delivery agent for HMRC. UKBA has the primary responsibility for clearing the movement of goods and people across the UK border - subject to the completion of the satisfactory checks stipulated by HMRC - and collecting relevant taxes and duties, where appropriate.

CE marking

Member states are required to ensure the correct use of CE marking, and take action in the event of its improper use.

Further information

Details of current and past market surveillance projects are available.

Updated: 2020-11-26