Safety of electrical products in the EU

A recent TIC Council study found a 15 % increase in unsafe CE-marked products on the EU market since 2017. In this blog post, Fredrik Wennersten, Chief Certification Officer, NCB Sweden at Intertek Semko AB, who assisted the survey on behalf of Intertek Semko, reflects on the proliferation of unsafe products on the EU market.

28 March 2023

Almost a year ago, I went into four different shops in Northern Stockholm and bought a total of 20 battery charges, space heaters, toaster/grills and irons. I did this as part of a product safety market study initiated by the TIC Council* and executed by its members during 2022, the first TIC Council study since 2017.
For the study, TIC Council members in the EU went out on the open market into normal shops and bought in total 120 CE-marked products in the categories Battery Charges, Luminaires, Curlers/Straighteners, Hair dryers, Space Heaters, Toaster/ Grills, Fans and Irons.

The products were sent to an independent third-party testing laboratory for evaluation and testing per European harmonized standards published in the EU Official Journal under LVD 2014/35/EU. The Household Products were evaluated and tested per applicable part 2 standards in the EN 60335 series and the luminaires per EN 60598.

Of the 120 products tested, a total of 85 were found non-compliant with the requirements. 28 of those 85 presented non-conformities so dangerous that they could cause personal or property damage.

Compared to the previous survey from 2017, the 2022 survey shows an increase of 15 percentage points in the total number of non-conformities and an increase of 6 percentage points in dangerous non-conformities, from 17% to 23%. It is also important to note that all of these products have been self-declared and CE marked by manufacturers / importers as safe and compliant with he applicable EU directives.

Meanwhile, Safety Gate, the EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products, have published their report for 2022 in RAPEX 2022. This report shows a stable trend over the last five years, with around 50 safety alerts daily, 8% of which are in the Electrical Appliances & Equipment category. These safety alerts are collected daily from the national competent authorities in the 27 EU countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, and Norway. The risk categories for all 2117 alerts that were reported for in 2022 are divided as follows:

Chemical: 35%
Injuries: 25%
Choking: 14%
Electric shock: 9%
Fire: 9%
Other risks: 8%

In a bid to curb online sales of dangerous products, the EU Commission launched a new tool in April 2022, the e-surveillance webcrawler. The intent of the e-surveillance webcrawler is to identify and automatically list products with a sales ban still on offer, allowing authorities to track down the seller and enforce the ban.

To conclude, not only is the EU market is still full of non-compliant self-declared CE-marked products, but their numbers seem to be on the rise.

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More on the TIC Council Market Study Report 2022 can be found in the Executive Summary.

* TIC (Testing Inspection Certification) Council is an international association representing third-party independent Testing, Inspection and Certification companies and are a merge of earlier TIC industry organizations IFIA and CEOC. TIC Council of 100 different member companies which are active in more than 160 counties. The TIC Council engages governments and key stakeholders to advocate for effective solutions that protect the public, facilitate trade and support innovation.

 

Fredrik Wennersten, 
Chief Certification Officer at Intertek’s NCB (National Certification Body) in Sweden

 

In this role, I am responsible for Intertek’s S-mark – a third party conformity assessment certification scheme founded back in 1926 – issued ENEC 14 licenses under the European Testing Inspection Certification System ETICS as ENEC Certification Body and issued IECEE CB Scheme certificates issued under the National Certification Body Intertek SEMKO AB. I am also responsible for Intertek’s European Notified Body 0143 for the EU Radio Directive (RED) and EMC Directive and for Intertek’s GSO (Gulf Standardization Body) G-mark Notified Body 0017.

I am a member of several working groups and boards in the global and regional conformity assessment arena, including the Conformity Assessment Board of the global standardization organization IEC, monitoring the IECs four different conformity assessment systems IECEE, IECEx, IECRE and ICEQ. 

For Europe, I am a member of the board of ETICS, the organization running the European certification schemes ENEC and HAR, and for the Gulf Region, I am a member of the GSO (the standardization body for the Gulf region) G-mark Notified Body forum.

For Sweden, I have a close working relationship with Svensk Elstandard, the organization responsible for the publication of all Swedish standards in the electrotechnical area. I am a member of their Electrotechnical Board as well as the Chairman of their Conformity Assessment Board.

This blog will feature my own personal reflections on different topics related to electrical products and their regulatory requirements, directives and standards, as well as on conformity assessment systems and their internal organizational structure and functions.

Fredrik Wennersten, Chief Certification Officer, NCB Sweden, Intertek Semko AB

 

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