Restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment: compliance and guidance.

The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) Directive (2011/65/EU) was transposed into UK law on 2 January 2013.

This legislation bans the placing on the EU market of new EEE containing more than the agreed levels of:

  • lead (Pb)
  • cadmium (Cd)
  • mercury (Hg)
  • hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  • polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE)

The National Measurement and Regulation Office (NMRO) is the market surveillance authority responsible for enforcing the RoHS legislation in the UK.

Manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers and distributors need to understand the obligations placed on them to ensure compliance.

Guidance

The European Commission is the principle point for advice for RoHS. The Commission FAQ document has been developed in cooperation with member state market surveillance authorities and presents the most uniform interpretation of RoHS.

As a matter of policy NMRO fully supports the interpretations within the Commission FAQ document.

The NMRO has developed a RoHS notification document to address a set of requirements in the RoHS legislation which place obligations on businesses to act in a proactive manner. It is a criminal offence to fail to comply with these requirements in the UK.

Notification guidance for RoHS

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has also produced a guidance document, updated in July 2014. This is available for download below.

Obligations

This table summarises the obligations of all economic operators that are affected by RoHS.

legal obligations manufacturer authorised representative importer distributor
  any supplier of an EEE for distribution, consumption or use in the course of a commercial activity and markets it under their own name anyone with a written mandate from a manufacturer to carry out administrative tasks on their behalf when placing EEE on the market anyone who imports EEE from outside the EU and places it on the EU market anyone in the supply chain, other than the manufacturer or importer, who makes EEE available on the EU market
design and manufacture EEE in compliance with RoHS      
place only compliant EEE on the EU market  
draw up technical documentation      
implement production control systems and checks to ensure compliance      
draw up an EU declaration of conformity      
affix CE mark      
ensure the EEE is accompanied by required documents    
ensure that technical documentation, in addition to the declaration of conformity, remains available for 10 years after the EEE is placed on the market  
ensure that the EEE has been CE marked by the manufacturer    
keep a register of all non-compliant and/or recalled EEE    
ensure that the manufacturer keeps a register of all non-compliant and/or recalled EEE      
ensure that the manufacturer has carried out an appropriate assessment of conformity      
ensure that the manufacturer has drawn up technical documentation      
ensure that the EEE remains compliant for as long as it is produced      
ensure that the EEE is marked with type/serial/batch number for identification  
ensure that the EEE is marked with the manufacturer’s trademark/trade name and address    
ensure that the EEE is marked with the importer’s trade name and address    
take corrective measures to ensure that any non-compliant EEE becomes compliant  
if requested, provide the NMRO with all the information required to demonstrate conformity
cooperate with the NMRO and take any action it requests to ensure conformity
meet all manufacturer obligations if you market EEE under your own trademark/trade name    

Appeals

The below document gives guidance on the appeals process associated with the enforcement of this legislation by the NMRO.

NMRO appeals guidance

A good practice guide

What follows are some pointers and examples of control techniques. They are not prescriptive and are intended to make you think about protecting yourself against legal action.

  1. assess the risk
    • identify any weak links in the process chain
    • analyse each stage of your operation
  2. establish what you are going to do about it
    • put in place reasonable safeguards
    • either eliminate the chance of anything going wrong, or control the risks so that errors will be detected early
  3. document your processes and act on your procedures
    • unless you can prove what has been done it will be difficult to claim a defence
    • inform your employees of your actions and give training
  4. review your system
    • ensure that it remains effective
    • correct failures as soon as possible

To use the defence of due diligence, a business or person must prove they have taken all reasonable (positive) steps to comply with the legislation.

Exemptions

The process for applying for an exemption is outlined under article 5(3) which states that ‘An application for granting, renewing or revoking an exemption shall be made to the Commission in accordance with annex V.’

More detail is provided under the Commission FAQ document.

Exclusions

exclusion guidance
large-scale fixed installations a large scale combination of several types of apparatus and, where applicable, other devices, which are assembled and installed by professionals, intended to be used permanently in a pre-defined and dedicated location and de-installed by professionals
large scale industrial tools a large scale assembly of machines, equipment, and/or components, functioning together for a specific application, permanently installed and de-installed by professionals at a given place, and used and maintained by professionals in an industrial manufacturing facility or research and development facility
military equipment military equipment is out of scope if designed and used exclusively by the military
paper, packaging, and labels any packaging that is discarded after purchase of the product is not considered to be part of the EEE and therefore out of scope. Packaging that forms part of, may remain with or may be disposed of with the product, will be considered on a case by case basis. Labels which are integrated as part of the final product are considered to be within scope
vehicles RoHS does not apply to ‘means of transport for persons or goods, excluding electric two-wheel vehicles which are not type approved’

Legislation

British

RoHS is written into UK law under statutory instrument UK 2012 No. 3032.

European

The recast RoHS directive 2011/65/EU was published on 1 July 2011 and entered into law on 21 July 2011. It replaced RoHS directive 2002/95/EC on 3 January 2013.

The RoHS directive 2012/65/EU has been amended by a number of delegated regulations which can be seen on the RoHS section of the Commission website. These are likely to be updated every few weeks or months, such as when new highly specified exemptions are included.

Blue Guide

The EC has developed the Blue Guide which is intended to contribute to better understanding of directives based on union harmonisation legislation across different sectors and throughout the single market.

Blue Guide

Contact

The advice provided via our enquiry service is based on the best and most up to date information available to us at the time.

We recommend that all enquiries are made via our online enquiries system, by choosing the relevant enquiry form and following the on screen instructions.

Alternatively, by phoning 020 8943 7227, you can leave a message, and an enforcement officer will return your call as soon as possible. Please be aware that this is an automated system and you will not be able to speak with anybody at the time of calling.

Enquiries can also be submitted in writing to:

NMRO Enforcement Authority
Stanton Avenue
Teddington
Middlesex
TW11 0JZ

Due to the legal nature and amount of enquiries, we aim to respond to all enquiries within one month.