Guidance for manufacturers, importers and distributors.
From 1 January 2021 there are differences in the rules for placing electrical and electronic equipment on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and placing Electrical and Electronic Equipment on the market in Northern Ireland. Those differences are explained on this page. You can also:
In Great Britain and in Northern Ireland many types of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) are regulated to control the levels of certain hazardous substances and chemicals they contain, with the aim of protecting human and animal health.
All products in scope must:
- have supporting technical documentation (often referred to as a technical file) to demonstrate compliance
- have a Declaration of Conformity
- be labelled with the required information
- display the appropriate conformity marking for the GB and/ or NI markets as appropriate
In Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2012 (as amended) are the underpinning legislation. However, there are differences in how they apply in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as explained below.
What is covered
The regulations in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland cover all EEE, cables and spare parts, with some exemptions including:
- some equipment for military use or specifically designed to be sent into space
- products integral to equipment that is not covered by the regulations
- large-scale stationary industrial tools and large-scale fixed installations
- photovoltaic (solar) panels produced for permanent use at specific locations
- means of transport (apart from certain two-wheeled electric vehicles)
- non-road mobile machinery specifically for professional use
- products specifically for research and development available on a business-to-business basis
- pipe organs
- active implantable medical devices
- phthalates in medical devices and monitoring and control instruments until July 2021
Extent of obligation
In Great Britain and Northern Ireland, manufacturers, importers and distributors, which include retailers, (known as economic operators) are responsible for the compliance of EEE that they place or make available on the GB and/ or NI market.
Economic operators in Great Britain and Northern Ireland must be able to identify who supplied them and who they supplied for 10 years following the placing on the market of the EEE.
For certain specific technical applications, you can apply for an exemption to allow these hazardous substances to be used above their maximum prescribed values.
Great Britain operates its own exemptions system, independent of the EU exemptions system.
Northern Ireland continues to follow the EU exemptions system.
How to comply
Manufacturers placing EEE on the market in Great Britain and/or Northern Ireland must evaluate their production controls to ensure that their products do not exceed the maximum prescribed levels of the following hazardous substances:
- hexavalent chromium
- polybrominated biphenyls
- polybrominated diphenyl ethers
- bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
- benzyl butyl phthalate
- dibutyl phthalate
- diisobutyl phthalate
A Declaration of Conformity must be completed, supported by technical documentation to demonstrate compliance, retained for 10 years after the last product is first placed on the market and be made available to OPSS on request. Other regulations that apply to certain EEE may require that technical documentation is retained for longer than ten years. For example, see guidance on energy labelling requirements.
Individual products must have a type, batch or serial number and show the manufacturer’s name or trademark, and address. Manufacturers must also declare conformity with all relevant legislation by affixing:
- the UKCA mark, in the case of EEE being placed on the market in GB
- the CE mark, in the case of EEE being placed on the market in NI
Some EEE will also be subject to regulations that require mandatory third-party conformity assessment.
On 24 August 2021 the government announced an extension allowing the CE mark to be accepted in the UK until 1 January 2023. You must be ready to use the UKCA marking from 1 January 2023 at the latest, although you should use it as soon as possible.
Until 31 December 2023, you have the option to affix the UKCA mark by means of a label, or similar, to the product, packaging, or documents, as required. From 1 January 2024, the UKCA mark should be directly affixed to the product.
This will apply for most goods requiring UKCA marking. There will be different rules for:
- medical devices
- construction products
- marine equipment
- transportable pressure equipment
- rail products
- confirm manufacturers have met the regulations for EEE they place on the GB and/or NI market
- retain a copy of the Declaration of Conformity
- ensure technical documentation is available to OPSS on request for 10 years after the last product is first placed on the market
Individual products must show the importer’s name or trademark, and a contactable address on the product or packaging.
If an importer places EEE on the GB or NI market under its own name or trademark, it must comply with all manufacturer’s obligations.
- ensure EEE displays the relevant markings
- not make a product available if they have reason to believe it is non-compliant
If a distributor modifies EEE in a way that might affect the compliance of that product, it must comply with all manufacturer’s obligations.
You are an importer if:
- You are the first one bringing goods from outside the UK and placing them on the market in Great Britain.
- You are the one bringing goods for the first time into Northern Ireland from either Great Britain or another non-EU country and placing them on the Northern Ireland market.
Economic operators in Great Britain and Northern Ireland must take specific steps if they know or suspect a product is non-compliant, including:
- notifying OPSS if the economic operator ‘considers or has reason to believe’ that a product placed on the GB and/ or NI market does not conform to the regulations.
- notifying the relevant EU Member State Market Surveillance Authority if the economic operator ‘considers or has reason to believe’ that a product placed on the NI or EU market does not conform to the regulations.
- keeping a register of EEE that they have placed on the market that is non-compliant or that has been recalled and keep others in the supply chain informed of these matters.
communicating detected non-compliant products to other economic operators in the supply chain as follows:
- manufacturers and importers must inform their distributors
- importers must inform the manufacturer
- distributors must inform the importer or manufacturer as appropriate
- taking remedial action, as appropriate, if the economic operator ‘considers or has reason to believe’ that a product does not conform to the regulations which includes:
- taking corrective measures (fix the non-conformity)
- withdrawing the product (stop it from being made available further down the supply chain, including to end users)
- recalling the product (draw it back from end users)
Notifications can be submitted to OPSS via the following form:
Please note: This form should not be edited. If you are unable to answer a question in full please make the reason for this clear.
The role of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)
OPSS has been appointed by Defra to enforce the regulations in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Where to find out more
If placing products on the market or making products available on the market in Great Britain:
- RoHS Regulations 2012, as amended (as applicable in GB)
- Placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain
If placing products on the market or making products available on the market in Northern Ireland:
- RoHS Regulations 2012, as amended (as applicable in NI)
- Placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland
- RoHS Directive - European Commission
- RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU (as applicable in NI)
If you have a specific enquiry about compliance or wish to contact us regarding suspected non-compliance we recommend that you complete the online enquiry form, choose the relevant legislation and follow the on screen instructions.
Alternatively you can contact our helpdesk on 0121 345 1201.
Or in writing to:
Office for Product Safety and Standards
4th Floor Cannon House
18 The Priory Queensway
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