The UKCA marking, or otherwise said ‘UK Conformity Assessed’ marking, will be the new product safety marking in the UK and replace the CE marking on certain products in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. The new UK conformity marking, still subject to parliamentary approval, is supposed to come into force after March 29th, 2019, and will not fully replace the use of CE marking. Manufacturers will need to apply the new product marking to products, sold on the UK market, only in cases when the CE marking will not be legally allowed for demonstrating compliance with the legal requirements. In other words, not all the product groups currently covered by the CE marking legislation will fall within the scope of the UKCA marking and, thus, require it.
The UKCA marking will be mandatory for products which third-party conformity assessment is carried out by a UK-based assessment body. In case the certificate of conformity is transferred to an EU-recognised body, the CE marking would still be applicable and the UKCA marking unnecessary.
In terms of self-certification of products, manufacturers will have to use the UKCA marking only if the specific product falls within the scope of the new UK marking. In all other cases, the CE marking will be accepted as proof of conformity.
The UKCA marking will only be valid in the UK and will not be recognised on the EU market. This means that UK manufacturers, wanting to sell their products on the EU market, will need to use the CE marking and carry out all applicable conformity assessment procedures stated in the EU legislation.
The UKCA marking & Third-party conformity assessment
Manufacturers of products, using UK Notified Bodies for their third-party conformity assessment, will no longer be able to affix the CE marking on them and will have to apply the UKCA marking. That is because, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, the competency of the Notified Bodies based in the UK to assess product’s conformity for the EU market will no longer be recognised by the EU.
In this regard, the UK government intends to reclassify the UK-based NBs as UK Approved Bodies if a ‘no-deal’ Brexit happens. The UK Approved Bodies will be fit to assess the conformity of products with the relevant UK legal requirements and, upon positive assessment, issue the UKCA marking.
However, the effect of the UKCA marking will not be immediate and a grace period will be given. Manufacturers of products, currently bearing the CE marking and placed on the UK market, will be allowed to continue to apply the marking to their products for a limited period, the duration of which is still undefined. Such products would include any that have already had the third-party assessment performed by an EU-recognised Notified Body. All other products that still haven’t been CE marked will have to be assessed and affixed with the UKCA mark.
Regarding any products being exported to the EU, they will be required to have the CE marking placed on them to show compliance with the applicable EU legislation.
Affixing the new UK Conformity Assessed marking
As overall, the UKCA marking will have to be attached to the product itself or placed on its packaging/ manual or any other supporting literature. Moreover, depending on the product and the specific legislation applicable to it, different rules on the use of the UKCA marking will apply. Despite that, there will also be some general rules that all manufacturers will have to follow:
- Only the manufacturer or his authorised representative (when the relevant legislation allows it) will be allowed to affix the marking to the product.
- The person, placing the UKCA marking on the product, will take full responsibility for the product’s compliance with the relevant legislation.
- Any markings or symbols that may cause confusion and lead to misinterpretation of the UKCA marking’s meaning or form will need to be removed.
- The UKCA marking will only be used to demonstrate the product’s compliance with the applicable UK legislation.
- The meaning, visibility or legibility of the new marking must not be diminished in any way, and any other product markings leading to such effect will have to be detached from the product.
- The new UK product marking must not be placed on products for which is not required.
In addition, manufacturers will also need to be careful when using the UKCA marking image and make sure that:
- The letters UKCA are always in proportion to the version set out above despite how reduced or enlarged the image
- The marking is not less than 5 mm in height, except for cases when the relevant legislation allows a different minimum dimension.
- Once affixed to the product, the UKCA marking cannot be removed, i.e. it is permanent.
- It is easily visible and legible.
Technical File & Declaration of Conformity
The manufacturer or his authorised representative (when the relevant legislation allows it) will have to keep and store the technical documentation and the declaration of conformity for a period of up to 10 years after the product is put on the UK market. The market authorities will be allowed to request at any time the product’s documentation to validate its conformity with the respective statutory requirements.
Unless explicitly stated otherwise in the specific legislation, the product’s technical documentation will need to contain general information about:
- The design and manufacture of the product
- The way the applicable legal requirements are met
- Address of the manufacturer
- Locations of any storage facilities.
When it comes to the declaration of conformity, the same should:
- Declare the product’s compliance with all applicable UK statutory requirements
- Contain information about the manufacturer/authorised representative (e.g. name and address), the product and the UK approved body (if relevant).
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