Subsidiary Legislation 427.34, Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations, transposes Directive 2014/30/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits.
The Low Voltage Directive (LVD) creates uniform conditions throughout the EU for the sale of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits. It covers all health and safety risks, to ensure high levels of protection of persons, domestic animals and property, and to ensure that electrical equipment is used safely and for the applications for which it was made.
The regulations apply to all electrical equipment that is designed or adapted for use between 50 and 1,000 volts, in the case of alternating current; and 75 and 1,500 volts, in the case of direct current. The regulations cover domestic electrical equipment and equipment that is intended for use in the workplace.
The regulations do not apply to electrical equipment listed in Schedule II of the regulations.
In general, components are not covered by the requirements of the regulations but components which are in themselves ‘electrical equipment’ need to satisfy the requirements of the regulations and in particular bear the CE marking.
The regulations do not apply to electrical equipment placed on the market before 20 April 2016.
Obligations of manufacturers
The obligations of manufacturers of electrical equipment include:
Before placing electrical equipment on the market, a manufacturer must ensure that it has been designed and manufactured in accordance with the principal elements of the safety objectives. Manufacturers must also have a relevant conformity assessment procedure carried out and technical documentation drawn up.
Manufacturers must keep technical documentation and the EU Declaration of Conformity for 10 years after the equipment has been placed on the market.
Before placing apparatus on the market, the manufacturers must also label apparatus with their name, registered trade name or registered trademark and postal address; the type, batch or serial number (or other identification) and ensure that they are accompanied by relevant instructions and safety information, in a language easily understood by the end user. If the end user is in Malta, the language must be either in Maltese or English.
They must, when appropriate with regards to any risk posed to consumers, carry out sample testing of equipment and must investigate any complaints that the electrical equipment is not in conformity and keep records of these complaints.
They must take action where they have reason to believe that the electrical equipment that they have placed on the market is not in conformity with the regulations.
Manufacturers are able to appoint authorised representatives, by written mandates, to perform certain tasks on their behalves. The manufacturers’ obligations for the electrical equipment to be designed and manufactured in accordance with the principal elements of the safety objectives and to draw up the technical documentation, shall not be part of these mandates.
The obligations of authorised representatives include:
Before placing electrical equipment on the market an importer must ensure that it is in conformity with the principal elements of the safety objectives and that the obligations in the regulations are met. If the electrical equipment presents a risk, the importer must inform the manufacturer and the market surveillance authority of that risk.
The importer must ensure that the relevant conformity assessment has been carried out by the manufacturer; the manufacturer has drawn up technical documentation and EU Declaration of Conformity; the electrical equipment is CE marked and is accompanied by the required documents and information regarding the manufacturer.
The importer must keep a copy of the EU Declaration of Conformity and technical documentation for a period of 10 years after the equipment has been placed on the market.
The importer must provide their name, registered trade name or registered trademark and a postal address at which they can be contacted, on the electrical equipment.
The importer must ensure the electrical equipment is accompanied by instructions and safety information, which can be easily understood by end user in the Member State where it is to be made available. If the end user is in Malta, that language must be either in Maltese or in English.
The importer must ensure that the electrical equipment under their responsibility is safely stored and transported.
The importer must, when appropriate with regards to any risk posed to consumers, carry out sample testing of equipment and investigate complaints about electrical equipment that is not in conformity with the regulations and keep a register of those complaints.
The importer must take action where they have reason to believe that the electrical equipment that they have placed on the market is not in conformity with the regulations.
Before making electrical equipment available on the market, a distributor must act with due care to ensure that it is in conformity with the principal elements of the safety objectives and that the obligations in the regulations are met. If the electrical equipment presents a risk, the distributor must inform the manufacturer or importer and the market surveillance authority of that risk.
They must verify that the equipment bears the CE marking, is accompanied by the required documents and by instructions and safety information, either in Maltese or in English. The distributor must also make sure that the obligations on the manufacturer and importer regarding their identification has been complied with.
The distributor must not make non-conforming equipment available on the market, until the equipment has been brought into conformity with the regulations.
The distributor must take action where they have reason to believe that the equipment that they have made available on the market is not in conformity with the regulations.
The distributor must ensure that equipment under their responsibility are safely stored and transported, remaining in conformity with the regulations.
Obligations of manufacturers applying to importers and distributors
Importers or distributors are considered manufacturers for the purposes of the regulations and they are subject to the obligations of the manufacturers, where they place electrical equipment on the market under their name or trademark or modifies the equipment already placed on the market in such a way that compliance with the regulations may be affected.
Enforcement and penalties
The regulations provide powers to Market Surveillance Directorate (MSD), within MCCAA, to take action against economic operators for products that are not in conformity with the regulations. Economic operators are required to co-operate with the enforcement authority and on request, must provide information and take action as appropriate.
The MSD is required to take all appropriate measures to withdraw from the market or to prohibit or to restrict the supply of products bearing CE Marking which may endanger the health and safety of persons, property or the environment. The MSD must inform the European Commission and other EU Member States immediately of any enforcement action taken indicating the reason justifying that action. This will enable Member States to take action against similar products placed on the market on their territories. Similarly, if another Member State initiates the procedure with respect to action taken on their territories, certain actions are required of the local market surveillance authority.
The regulations also allow the MSD to raise an objection against the measures taken by another Member State. The European Commission will determine whether the action taken is justified; if so, the MSD must take necessary measures to ensure electrical equipment is withdrawn from the market. Where the European Commission finds the action taken by the Member State initiating the measures, is not justified, that Member State must withdraw that measure.
Economic operators failing to comply with the requirements of the regulations are subject to the provisions of article 26 of the Product Safety Act.
The European Commission has produced guidance called the Blue Guide intended to contribute to a better understanding of EU product safety rules and to their more uniform and coherent application across different sectors and throughout the single market. The Blue Guide can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/18027/
The Electrical Accessories Regulations, a National Legislation, Subsidiary Legislation 427.51, regulates electrical accessories, including plugs, socket outlets and adaptors. The MCCAA website provides related information here.