Gas appliance safety: supplier and manufacturer's obligations
Find out which gas appliances must comply with the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995, exemption and penalties for non-compliance
Manufacturers and suppliers of gas appliances in the UK must comply with the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995, which incorporates the amended EU Gas Appliances Directive 90/396/EEC (GAD) into UK law. Together the regulations establish a single market in safe gas appliances and provide a high level of protection for consumers.
How the regulations may apply to you
The Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995 will affect you if you are a:
- manufacturer (or their authorised representatives) of gas appliances
- importer of gas appliances
- wholesaler or distributor of gas appliances
- retailer of gas appliances (including mail order traders and auctioneers who supply new appliances)
By law, all suppliers must ensure they supply only gas appliances and fittings that are safe when used normally.
Which appliances are covered by the regulations?
The regulations cover any gas-burning appliance used for:
- heating for thermal comfort
- hot water production (having a normal water temperature not exceeding 105°C)
The regulations also apply to:
- second-hand gas appliances (including reconditioned) which have not been previously supplied or put into service by another person in the EU
- reconditioned gas appliances which have been previously supplied or put into service in the EU and which have been placed on the market as a ‘new’ product
- forced draft burners and heating bodies to be equipped with such burners
A ‘fitting’ is any device that is marketed separately for trade use and designed to be incorporated into an appliance. Fittings include safety devices, controlling or regulating devices (not including hoses or cylinder regulators), and sub-assemblies.
Which appliances are exempt?
Appliances specifically designed for use in industrial processes carried out on industrial premises are excluded, as are second-hand gas appliances and fittings, which have been previously supplied or put into service by a person in the EU.
Type examination and monitoring the production of gas appliances
All suppliers and manufacturers of gas appliances must ensure that the design and construction of any appliance or fitting they supply is safe when used correctly, to meet the essential requirements of the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995.
To demonstrate that criteria have been met, an appointed independent third party - called a notified body - is required in both type-examination of new appliances or fittings and in production monitoring. Notified bodies will have been assessed by member states to ensure their competence in determining whether or not a product complies with the regulations.
Manufacturers can choose different notified bodies to undertake different aspects of product type-examination and production monitoring, depending on their specialist capabilities.
For the production of individual appliances - or small numbers intended for non-series production - type-examination is not required but each appliance is subject to EC Unit Verification. The manufacturer must appoint a notified body to carry out detailed examinations and checks on each appliance: this may be in situ if necessary. If successfully verified, the manufacturer will issue an EC Declaration of Conformity and add CE marking to the appliance.
CE marking and fitting certificates for gas appliances
CE marking is a visual declaration by the manufacturer that the gas appliance meets the Gas Appliances (Safety) Regulations 1995 - including the relevant conformity assessment procedures.
The marking consists of the initials ‘CE’, the identification number of the notified body involved in the production control phase, and the last two digits of the year in which the CE marking was affixed.
The presence of CE marking does NOT mean that an enforcement authority cannot challenge an appliance if it suspects an infringement.
Other information that must appear on the appliance- or data plate, securely affixed to the appliance, includes:
- the manufacturer’s name, trade mark, other identification symbol, or appliance trade name
- the type of electrical supply to be used in connection with the appliance
- the appliance category - advice can be sought from the notified body
This is the fitting’s equivalent of the CE marking. It is a manufacturer’s declaration that a fitting conforms to the regulations.
It must describe the fitting’s characteristics and the manner in which it is to be incorporated into an appliance, or assembled with other fittings, to comply with the regulation’s essential requirements.
The fitting certificate should include:
- the issuing company’s name
- a unique identification of the fitting
- a declaration that the fitting complies with regulations
- a statement that when used as a replacement spare part, it must be installed in accordance with the servicing instructions issued by the appliance manufacturer
One certificate may relate to a number of identical fittings. The manufacturer or their authorised representative must supply a copy of the certificate with the fitting.
What will happen if you don’t comply with the regulations?
Local authority trading standards departments enforce the regulations concerning gas appliances or fittings intended for use by consumers. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) enforces the regulations concerning gas appliances or fittings designed for use or operation by persons at work or designed for use other than at work, in any non-domestic premises made available for persons at a place where they use the equipment.
In non-safety-related cases, if the enforcement authority (ie trading standards or the HSE) reasonably suspects CE marking has been wrongly applied, it may issue a compliance notice to the UK manufacturer or authorised representative requiring them to make the appliance conform. Further enforcement action may only be taken if a notice has been issued yet not acted upon by the notice deadline.
EU member states are required to take all appropriate measures to withdraw CE-marked gas appliances and fittings covered by fitting certificates. This usually occurs when the appliance or fitting is being used for its intended purpose but is liable to endanger people or property. The member state must immediately inform the European Commission (EC) of their actions and give reasons.
Where, after consultation with the parties concerned, the EC finds that the measures are justified, it informs all the other member states.
It is a criminal offence to supply gas appliances and fittings that fail to comply with the Gas Appliances (Safety) regulations. The possible penalties are fines or even imprisonment for up to 6 months.
Published: 11 September 2012