Manufacturers, suppliers and installers of electronic and electrical equipment must comply with electromagnetic compatibility regulations
The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006 apply to electrical and electronic equipment liable to cause or be affected by electromagnetic disturbance. These rules implement the EU Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive into UK law.
The aim of the regulations is to ensure that electromagnetic disturbance generated by electrical or electronic equipment doesn’t reach levels which would prevent radio, telecommunications and other equipment from working properly. They also exist to ensure that such equipment itself has adequate immunity from electromagnetic disturbance. The rules don’t deal with safety-related matters.
This guide is aimed at manufacturers and suppliers of electronic and electrical equipment, as well as those responsible for fixed installations. It explains the relevant regulations and your obligation to comply with them.
What is electromagnetic disturbance and compatibility?
Several terms are referred to in the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations. These are explained below.
Electromagnetic disturbance describes any electromagnetic phenomenon that can adversely affect the performance of radio or telecommunications equipment. For example, it might be electromagnetic noise or an unwanted signal affecting a mobile phone. The aim of the regulations is to ensure electromagnetic equipment is manufactured to be ‘compatible’ - ie won’t cause disturbance to other equipment.
Apparatus means any finished appliance intended for the end user and liable to create or be affected by electromagnetic disturbance. This can include a combination of commercially made appliances if they are made available as a single functional unit.
A fixed installation means one or several types of apparatus that - when installed - is intended for permanent use at a pre-defined location.
The rules apply to fixed installations put into service on or after 20 July 2007. They also apply to fixed installations put into service before 20 July 2007 if modifications have been made after that date which could affect its electromagnetic compatibility.
Your responsibilities as a manufacturer under the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations
The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006 require equipment to be designed and manufactured in such a way as to ensure that any electromagnetic disturbance that it generates does not prevent other radio and telecommunications equipment from working. It must also have enough immunity to electromagnetic disturbance to ensure that the equipment itself can also be used as intended.
Electromagnetic compatibility assessment
Equipment must be constructed and installed according to good engineering practice principles - most usually to comply with a harmonised safety standard. A harmonised safety standard is one agreed by the national standards bodies of all the EU member states.
To demonstrate compliance with the Regulations, the manufacturer must perform an electromagnetic compatibility assessment by demonstrating the apparatus complies with relevant harmonised standards.
Where electrical equipment has not been manufactured to comply with one of the recognised standards, suppliers should perform their own assessment against the essential requirements, taking into account all normal intended operating conditions and all configurations representing intended use. They may also want to have the equipment assessed for safety by a Notified Body.
As the manufacturer, to show your equipment meets electromagnetic compatibility requirements, you need to carry out an electromagnetic compatibility assessment, by either:
- demonstrating your apparatus meets all the relevant harmonised standards
- performing your own assessment against the essential requirements - taking into account all normal intended operating conditions and configurations
- carrying out a combination of the above
Once an electromagnetic compatibility assessment has been carried out, you must then draw up technical documentation.
There are no requirements for the format or style of the documents, but they should include:
A general description of the apparatus.
Evidence of compliance with relevant harmonised standards, if any. This is typically a test report. Alternatively, it could be a description and explanation of the steps taken to meet the essential requirements - including a description of the electromagnetic compatibility assessment, results of design calculations made, examinations carried out, test reports, etc.
You may also want to have your technical documents assessed by a Notified Body. If the Notified Body agrees that electromagnetic compatibility compliance has been demonstrated, you can add this information to your documentation.
European Community (EC) Declaration of Conformity
You - or an authorised representative - must also draw up an EC Declaration of Conformity which declares that the apparatus complies with the essential requirements. There is no standard format, but it must have:
- a reference to the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive
- identification of the apparatus it refers to
- your name and address and - where applicable - your authorised representative’s
- the manufacturer’s name and address and where applicable, those of their authorised representative
- a dated reference to the specifications (not just harmonised standards) under which conformity is declared - to ensure the conformity of the apparatus with the provisions of the Directive
- the date of that declaration
- your signature, or your authorised representative’s
Copies of documents and the EC Declaration of Conformity must be retained by the ‘responsible person’ for 10 years after the date the apparatus was last manufactured. The responsible person is either:
- you, as the manufacturer
- your authorised representative
- the person who places the apparatus on the market or puts it into service
Notified Bodies and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations
If you haven’t manufactured your products in line with a recognised harmonised standard, you may want to involve a Notified Body to demonstrate compliance with the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006. Notified Bodies are appointed by member states to support the implementation of certain EU laws - including the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive.
Involving a Notified Body
Involvement of a Notified Body is not mandatory, even where harmonised standards are not employed in full. However, full application of harmonised standards evidenced by a test report is the most straightforward option.
If you would like a Notified Body to carry out an assessment, you need to complete your own internal production control procedure. You must then provide the Notified Body with the technical documentation for the essential requirements against which you want your apparatus assessed.
If satisfied with compliance, the Notified Body will issue a statement, which you can add to the apparatus’ technical documentation. The Notified Body will also let you know if it finds reason to refuse a statement of compliance.
CE marking and the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations
Attaching a CE mark to a product is a way for the manufacture to declare that it complies with the relevant European Union laws.
The affixing of a CE mark to a product is the manufacturer’s declaration that it meets the provisions of the necessary European directives. Apparatus covered by the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations must carry CE marking before it can be sold.
For many electrical products, the CE marking indicates compliance with the Electromagnetic Compatibility and Low Voltage Directives. For more information on the Low Voltage Directive, see the guide on electrical equipment manufacturers and their responsibilities.
CE marking gives businesses easier access to the European market to sell their products without adaptation or rechecking.
Each apparatus placed on the market must have, for the convenience of the user and/or enforcement authorities:
- identification in terms of type, batch, serial number or any information allowing for identification of the apparatus
- the name and address of the manufacturer and, if he or she is not established in the EC, the name and address of the responsible person
- information on any precautions that must be taken when the apparatus is assembled, installed, maintained or used to ensure it meets the essential requirements
- instructions for use - containing the information necessary for the apparatus to be used as intended
Apparatus which may not comply with the essential requirements of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations if used in residential areas must be accompanied by a clear indication of this. Where appropriate, this indication must also be shown on the packaging.
For more information see the guide on CE marking.
A summary of electromagnetic compatibility requirements for manufacturers
The essential requirements of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006 require equipment to be designed and manufactured to ensure that:
- the electromagnetic disturbance it generates doesn’t exceed a level which would prevent radio and telecommunications equipment or other equipment working properly
- it has a level of immunity to the electromagnetic disturbance to be expected in its intended use which allows it to operate without unacceptable degradation
The full application of harmonised standards evidenced by a test report is the most straightforward way of demonstrating this, and provides a presumption of conformity with the requirements for emission and immunity.
Where harmonised standards are not employed in full, you will have to show that your apparatus complies by carrying out an electromagnetic compatibility assessment.
If you wish, you can involve a Notified Body for assistance.
Enforcement of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations
Enforcement for apparatus under the Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations is carried out by the trading standards departments of local authorities. Ofcom may also enforce the rules where the action relates to the protection and management of the radio spectrum.
If asked to do so by an enforcement authority, the responsible person - ie the person who placed the apparatus on the market - must provide copies of:
- the EC Declaration of Conformity
- technical documentation
- the Notified Body statement - where applicable
Enforcement for fixed installations
The enforcement authorities for fixed installations are the same as those for apparatus.
Where a fixed installation appears to be non-compliant - eg there is a report of interference being caused - the enforcement authority will want to see documentary evidence that good engineering practices have been followed. You may also have to supply confidential information relating to the construction or performance of your apparatus.
Where non-compliance is as a result of interaction between two or more fixed installations that are otherwise compliant, or the disturbances originate from a shared resource, the authorities may require the responsible persons to cooperate to resolve the problem.
It is an offence to supply electromagnetic equipment which does not comply with the requirements of the regulations. Any person committing an offence is liable - under summary conviction - to imprisonment, a fine or both.