National Trading Standards – Electrical Products

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

Electrical equipment designed for use between 50-1,000 volts AC or 75-1,500 volts DC must be safe, constructed in accordance with principles constituting good engineering practice and conform to specific regulatory safety objectives.

If the electrical equipment complies with a harmonised European standard, it is automatically taken to be safe. There are specific requirements for the manufacturer of the product, including affixing the CE mark, drawing up and holding an EC declaration of conformity, and keeping technical information for inspection purposes.

Electrical equipment is required to comply with the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016. The Regulations therefore apply to electrical equipment that is designed to be connected to a domestic mains electricity supply, as well as to some industrial equipment.

Components of electrical equipment are also covered if they are to be supplied as separate items.

Second-hand items (including items for hire and equipment supplied as part of a furnished accommodation) are required to satisfy the principal elements of the safety objectives only. They are not required to be CE marked etc.

Principal safety objectives

Electrical equipment must:

  • be constructed in such a way to ensure that it can be used safely and for the purpose that it was made
  • be in conformity with the safety objectives contained in Part 2 of and Schedules 1 and 2 to the Regulations, including:
    – being marked in accordance with the requirements set out below so that it can be easily traced
    – designed so that the equipment, including its component parts, can be safely and properly assembled and connected
    – instructions and information required for the equipment to be used safely must be marked on the equipment or in an accompanying notice
    – operate at a safe temperature with no dangerous arcing or radiation
    – have adequate insulation for foreseeable conditions
    – have the right technical information available, demonstrating compliance with CE marking requirements and a ‘declaration of conformity’

Satisfying the principal safety objectives

Manufacturers must have adequate internal production control (quality assurance) as a means of satisfying conformity, achieved through taking responsibility for the technical documentation and monitoring manufacturing processes. Either the manufacturer or (by written mandate) the authorised representatives should draw up a declaration of conformity in accordance with Schedule 8 to the Regulations and apply the CE mark (as below).

If the electrical equipment complies with a harmonised European standard, there is a presumption that it meets the principal safety objectives. If there is no relevant harmonised European standard, compliance with international standards will be sufficient. If there are no relevant international standards, compliance with a national standard will be sufficient provided that standard includes everything in the principal safety objectives.

Labelling & records

A manufacturer or their authorised representative within the European Economic Area (EEA) must do the following.

Ensure that the electrical equipment bears a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification.

Indicate on the electrical equipment the manufacturer’s name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to indicate these on the equipment itself, then it may be indicated on the product packaging or accompanying documents. These have to be legible and easily understood by the end users and market surveillance authorities. In the UK it must be in English.

Affix a CE mark to the equipment, the packaging, instruction sheet or guarantee certificate. The CE mark is a declaration that the equipment complies with the Regulations.

CE mark

Draw up and hold an ‘EC declaration of conformity’, which should contain:

  • product model, type, batch or serial number(s) to which the declaration of conformity applies (for traceability purposes)
  • the name and address of the manufacturer or their authorised representative
  • a description of the electrical equipment (may include a colour image where necessary for the identification of the electrical equipment)
  • a reference to the harmonised standards used to assess compliance (if no harmonised standard, then a reference to other specifications)
  • identification of the person who will enter into commitments on behalf of the manufacturer or authorised representative (if appropriate)
  • the place and date of issue

Compile and hold technical documentation, which should contain:

  • a general description of the electrical equipment
  • the conceptual design, manufacturing drawings, details of components, etc along with information to help interpretation of these
  • a list of the standards with which the electrical equipment complies; or, if standards were not used, a description of what has been done to ensure compliance with the general safety requirement
  • results and reports of tests, examinations, calculations, etc

Obligations of importers & distributors

Importers must not place any electrical equipment on the market unless they have assurances that it complies with the principal safety objectives and ensure that the manufacturers have met all their obligations in relation to conformity assessment procedures, technical documentation, CE marking and labelling requirements. This must be made available to an enforcing authority on request.

Importers must also indicate on the electrical equipment their name or registered trade mark and a postal address at which they can be contacted. If it is not possible to put all the information on the equipment itself, importers can put their full name or trademark and details on the packaging instead.

Distributors have a responsibility to ensure that instructions and safety information accompany the electrical equipment before placing it on the market. They must also check with the importer that the manufacturer of the electrical equipment has met their obligations with regard to the labelling requirements. Distributors must check that the electrical equipment bears a label that correctly identifies the importer.

Obligations of manufacturers & importers

Manufacturers and importers have additional obligations; they must:

  • carry out sample testing of electrical equipment made available on the market
  • investigate and keep a register of complaints, of non-conforming electrical equipment and electrical equipment recalls
  • keep distributors informed of any such monitoring

Who should keep the documentation?

The declaration of conformity and the technical documentation must be kept and be available for inspection by enforcement bodies (including trading standards) by:

  1. the manufacturer, if they are in the EEA
  2. their authorised representative, if they are outside the EEA
  3. if neither of the above, the importer into the EEA

These must be kept for a period of 10 years beginning on the day on which the electrical equipment is placed on the market.

Safe connection for domestic electrical equipment

If the electrical equipment is a plug-in device (such as a charger) intended to be connected, without the use of a mains lead or plug, directly to the United Kingdom public electricity supply via a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363: A plugs, socket-outlets, adaptors and connection units, the economic operator must ensure that the plug-in device is compatible with socket outlets conforming to BS 1363.

Where the electrical equipment has a flexible lead and plug assembly, such as a vacuum cleaner, and is intended to be connected to the United Kingdom public electricity supply by means of a socket outlet conforming to BS 1363, the economic operator must ensure that that plug is a correctly fitted standard plug fitted with a BS 1362 fuse, or is a correctly fitted non-UK plug conforming to the safety provisions of IEC 884-1 and correctly fitted with a compatible conversion plug.

Other CE-marking regulations that may apply

  • Medical Devices Regulations 2002 (further information is available from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, telephone 020 3080 6000)
  • Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
  • Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 (also contain a general safety requirement)
  • Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 (contain provisions prohibiting electromagnetic emissions from electrical equipment interfering with the operation of other equipment)
  • Radio Equipment Regulations 2017

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Medical Devices Regulations 2002

Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008

Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011

Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016

Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016

Radio Equipment Regulations 2017

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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National Trading Standards – New Nightwear

This guidance is for England, Scotland & Wales

The Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985 make it an offence to supply some children’s nightwear unless it has been treated so that it conforms, after washing, to the flammability performance requirements of British standard BS 5722: Specification for flammability performance of fabrics and fabric combinations used in nightwear garments.

Note: this standard has been withdrawn by the British Standards Institution (BSI) but is still referred to in the Regulations.

The Regulations lay down labelling requirements so that purchasers can tell whether other nightwear – including adults’ – does or does not meet the flammability requirements.

Second-hand nightwear does not have to comply with these Regulations.

Children’s nightwear

Children’s nightwear means anything designed for wear by, and that would normally be worn by, a person under the age of 13 years, except:

  • night dresses with a chest measurement of more than 91 cm or a length of more than 122 cm
  • dressing gowns, bath robes and other similar garments with a chest measurement of more than 97 cm or a sleeve measurement of more than 69 cm

Children’s nightwear must comply with the flammability performance requirements of BS 5722, except the following items:

  • garments for babies up to three months old, with a chest measurement of 53 cm or less
  • pyjamas
  • cotton terry-towelling bath robes

Other nightwear

Other nightwear (including adult nightwear), babies’ garments, children’s pyjamas and children’s cotton terry-towelling bath robes must be labelled so as to inform the purchaser whether the item does or does not meet the flammability requirements of BS 5722.

If the item does not meet the requirements, it must have a label, printed in red, stating ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’. If the item meets the requirements, it must have a label with one of the following:

  • a statement in red text stating ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’
  • a statement in black text stating ‘LOW FLAMMABILITY TO BS 5722’
  • both statements in appropriate colours

Special rules apply to these items where they are advertised for sale on the internet or by mail order. If the item does not meet the flammability requirements the wording ‘KEEP AWAY FROM FIRE’ must be displayed next to the advert in a red-sided equilateral triangle. If the item does meet low flammability requirements the advert must show a green triangle with the words ‘LOW FLAM’ within it.

Treated nightwear

Any nightwear treated with flame-retardant chemicals must also have a label that states ‘DO NOT WASH AT MORE THAN 50oC. CHECK SUITABILITY OF WASHING AGENT’.

Positioning of labels

The wording described above must be given on a durable label on the inside neck of the garment or next to the label giving the size of the garment, or the wording must be given on the size label immediately following such information.

Safety standards

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 also require goods to be safe. When assessing the safety of a product, manufacturers are encouraged to manufacture goods in accordance with European standards. The European standard BS EN 14878: Textiles. Burning behaviour of children’s nightwear. Specification contains flammability performance requirements for children’s nightwear. This covers all nightwear for children aged under 14*, including pyjamas, all dressing gowns, and babies’ garments, and introduces specific flammability requirements for these garments.

[*This is different from the age of 13 that is specified in the Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985.]

In principle, it is recommended that the requirements of the UK Regulations continue to be applied, where applicable. However, for garments such as children’s pyjamas and cotton terry-towelling bath robes and babies’ garments, the flammability requirements of BS EN 14878 should be applied so that suppliers meet the statutory requirements of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR).

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 also cover second-hand goods, so again EN 14878 could be used to assess the safety of second-hand children’s nightwear. In common with other consumer products, these Regulations require the manufacturer to mark the product, or its packaging, with their name and address and the product reference or batch code (unless it would not be reasonable to do so).

In addition to the specific flammability requirements, nightwear must be safe in all other respects, such as avoiding strangulation, entrapment, and choking hazards caused by cords and fasteners and chemical hazards.

See ‘General product safety: distributors‘ and ‘General product safety: producers‘ for more information on the GPSR.

All nightwear must comply with the requirements of EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and therefore must not contain certain azo dyes and harmful flame retardants.

Penalties

Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment.

Key legislation

Nightwear (Safety) Regulations 1985

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

EU Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

PLEASE NOTE

The information is intended for guidance only; only the courts can give you an authoritative interpretation of the law.

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VAT and Storeship Fulfilment House

VAT and Online Resellers

VAT and Fulfilment

V.A.T. means Value Added Tax. It’s a tax that VAT-registered traders in the EU add to the price of the goods they sell and pass on to the national tax authorities when they file their tax returns. You may need to be registered for VAT to be able to sell goods within the UK. In fact if you sell goods in an EU country, it’s likely you may be required to register for Value Added Tax (VAT) in each country you sell in.

Remember: it’s the responsibility of each Storeship seller to ensure they are VAT-compliant and you should seek professional advice if you are unsure of your obligations.

Take this simple test to see if you need to register for VAT https://litmustest.kpmg-vat-compliance.com/

Where is your business established?

In the UK
You need to register for VAT in the UK if:

  • You store goods in the UK; and
  • You sell them to consumers based in the UK; and
  • Your sales exceed the UK domestic VAT threshold of £85,000.

You may also need to register for VAT separately in other EU countries if:

  • You sell goods to consumers in other EU countries.

In a different EU Country
You need to register for VAT in the UK if:

  • You store your goods in the UK or
  • You sell to UK-based consumers (non-business); and
  • Your sales exceed the UK distance selling VAT threshold of £70,000.

Outside the EU
You need to register for VAT in the UK if:

  • You sell goods that you store in the UK to customers based in the EU.

You may also need to register for VAT separately in other EU countries if:

  • You sell goods to consumers in other EU countries.

How do you register for VAT?

Firstly, you’ll need to establish if you need to register for VAT. If you need to register you’ll have to submit an application form to the H.M.R.C. (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) When you have completed the VAT registration process you will be given your VAT number. You will need your VAT number to;

  • File your VAT Tax Return
  • Issue VAT Invoices, remember to add 20% to your goods.
  • Claim money back on your business expenses.

Please ensure that you are VAT compliant.

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