The Low Voltage Directive (LVD) involves conformity assessment procedures & Essential Health & Safety Requirements (EHSRs), which products must meet; either directly or by means of Harmonised Standards before being placed on the market.
LVD ensures that electrical equipment within a certain voltage range provides a high level of protection to the consumer. The Directive covers electrical equipment operating on voltages between 50-1000 volts AC & 75-1500 volts DC. These voltage ratings apply only to the voltages available on the input or output connections of the product, and do not apply to any internal voltages which are not accessible in normal operation.
For electrical equipment within scope, the Directive covers all health & safety risks, thus ensuring that electrical equipment is safe for it’s intended use.
The manufacturer, or their authorised representative, should declare compliance of the product to the requirements of the applicable Directives before placing the CE mark and, in doing so, they take legal responsibility for the product. It is therefore of paramount importance to have documentary evidence of having interpreted the requirements of the relevant Directives & evidence of testing to demonstrate conformity with these requirements.
CASS Industries Ltd offer a range of services to assist manufacturers & importers or their agents in CE marking products that they are placing on the market:
- Electrical safety testing & reports
- Advice on which Directives are applicable to the product
- Advice on Declarations of Conformity & application of the CE mark to your product
- Interpretation of Directive Requirements
Equipment listed in Annex II of the Directive are excluded from the scope of the Directive
- Electrical equipment to be used in Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX)
- Electrical equipment for radiology & medical purposes
- Electrical parts for goods & passenger lifts
- Electricity meters
- Plugs & Sockets for domestic use
- Electric Fence controllers
- Specialised electrical equipment for use on ships, aircraft or railways, which complies with the safety provisions drawn up by international bodies in which the Member States participate
- Custom built evaluation kits destined for professionals to be used solely at research & development facilities for such purposes
In the main, these are items which are covered under other more specific Directives or are subject to international legislation outside the jurisdiction of the EU.
Equipment manufactured for the manufacturer’s own use is not excluded from the Directive, but does not need to carry a CE logo.
The requirements of the Directive can be split into Essential Protection Requirements & Administrative Requirements.
The Essential Protection Requirements are contained in Annex I of the Directive. In essence they are simple: equipment must be safe, must bear the manufacturer’s name & address & it must be supplied with any instruction to permit it to be used safely.
“Principal elements of the safety objectives for electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits”
1. General conditions
a) The essential characteristics, the recognition and observance of which will ensure that electrical equipment will be used safely and in applications for which it was made, shall be marked on the equipment, or, if this is not possible, on an accompanying notice.
b) The manufacturers or brand name or trade mark should be clearly printed on the electrical equipment or, where that is not possible, on the packaging.
c) The electrical equipment, together with its component parts should be made in such a way as to ensure that it can be safely and properly assembled and connected.
d) The electrical equipment should be so designed and manufactured as to
ensure that protection against the hazards set out in points 2 and 3 of
this Annex is assured providing that the equipment is used in
applications for which it was made and is adequately maintained.
2. Protection against hazards arising from electrical equipment
Measures of a technical nature should be prescribed in accordance with point 1, in order to ensure:
a) that persons and domestic animals are adequately protected against danger of physical injury or other harm which might be caused by electrical contact direct or indirect;
b) that temperatures, arcs or radiation which would cause a danger, are not produced;
c) that persons, domestic animals and property are adequately protected against non-electrical dangers caused by the electrical equipment which are revealed by experience.
d) that the insulation must be suitable for foreseeable conditions.
3. Protection against hazards which may be caused by external influences on the electrical equipment
Technical measures are to be laid down in accordance with point 1, in order to ensure:
a) that the electrical equipment meets the expected mechanical requirements in such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not endangered;
b) that the electrical equipment shall be resistant to non-mechanical influences in expected environmental conditions, in such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not endangered;
c) that the electrical equipment shall not endanger persons, domestic animals and property in foreseeable conditions of overload.
The Administrative Requirements are no less straightforward than the Essential Requirements. The manufacturer must:
- Compile technical documentation – The manufacturer must produce a file of evidence which describes the product & how it is shown to comply with the Directive. Such a file will typically include information about how to identify the product, a copy of the consumer instructions, a wiring diagram, reports of test & records of assessment to applicable standards.
- Control of Production – Although testing may be performed on a sample of the equipment, the Directive requires that all units produced comply with its requirements. The manufacturer will need appropriate quality control procedures in place.
- Sign a Declaration of Conformity – The manufacturer must sign a document to identify the equipment & confirm the steps they have taken to comply with the Directive. This document is kept on file by the manufacturer; it does not need to be sent to any official body (although customers may ask to see this).
- Place the CE logo on the product – This must be put on the equipment directly, or on the packaging or instructions.