CE Accredited Fabrications – Useful Info for Manufacturers, Importers and Distributors
Last week we took a look at what will be happening with CE accredited fabrications now that Brexit has materialised. As we’ve pointed out, for goods sold and used in the UK, we now have a new product marking, the UKCS (United Kingdom Conformity Assessed) marking which will be Britain’s equivalent of the CE marking being used throughout Europe.
However, the UKCS will only apply to goods being brought to market here in the UK – any products or goods destined for the European market will still need to be CE marked in order to comply with EU legislation. To make things even more confusing, goods destined for the Northern Ireland market will still need to bear the CE marking and a UKNI marking as the UKNI marking is not to be used on its own.
However, any goods that bear both the CE marking and the UKNI marking are not eligible to be placed on the market in countries in the European Union. As we pointed out, there will be a period of grace and the CE marking is still valid in the UK up until the end of 2021. This period of grace will allow British manufacturers and suppliers a whole year to make the changes that will be necessary from the beginning of 2022 onwards.
With all these changes on the horizon, we’re going to take a look today at the benefits of ensuring that goods and products bear the correct marking when brought to market, wherever that market may be.
When a product is correctly marked, whether it’s the CE mark or the UKCS mark, it demonstrates that the manufacturer has ensured compliance with health and safety requirements as indicated in the applicable regulations in the EU or UK respectively. Marking the products in this way shows that the manufacturer takes full responsibility and liability for the products.
Manufacturers are responsible for completing the CE marking process to ensure that their products comply with any relevant EU legislation. When it comes to products made by manufacturers outside the European Union, the manufacturer may appoint an authorised representative – either an importer or a distributor of the product.
Any company importing a product manufactured outside of the EU has a legal responsibility to ensure that a product complies with legislation before it can be brought to market. This will involve making sure that the manufacturer has complied with all legal obligations covering such a product and involves:
- Completing the conformity assessment process
- Compiling a comprehensive technical file
- Drafting a declaration of conformity.
Under the Product Liability Directive, all importers are considered to be producers and are liable for the products which they place on the European marketplace. Distributors who purchase products (either from an importer or direct from the manufacturer) should be aware of the CE marking regulations. If the distributor then modifies a product or is marketing a product under their own name, they will be legally considered the manufacturer and are legally responsible for compliance and CE marking.