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Product safety markings: Government aims to make things simpler

The government recently announced various changes aimed at making it simpler for businesses to apply the new post-Brexit product safety markings for products placed on the market in Great Britain, as Walker Morris Regulatory & Compliance experts Stuart Ponting and Claire Burrows explain.

What has changed?

As we set out in an earlier briefing, businesses have until 1 January 2023 to start using the new UKCA product safety mark which replaces the old EU CE mark.

On 20 June 2022, the government announced changes designed to make things simpler for businesses adopting the new mark:

  • The government will introduce legislation allowing manufacturers to apply the UKCA product safety mark to products that were conformity assessed by EU bodies before the end of 2022. This will apply until the sooner of the certificate expiry date or 31 December 2027.
  • CE marked products that are manufactured and imported into the UK before the end of 2022 can now be sold without the need to meet UKCA requirements, removing the need to retest and recertify existing imported stock.
  • Spare parts will continue to be accepted onto the GB market where they comply with the same requirements that were in place at the time the original products or systems were placed on the EU market and were properly CE marked.
  • The government will introduce legislation so that the UKCA product safety mark can be placed on a label affixed to the product or on a document accompanying the product (rather than on the product itself) until 31 December 2025.
  • Manufacturers of construction products under AVCP system 3 whose products are tested by an EU notified body before 1 January 2023 will be able to obtain a UKCA product safety mark without having to retest through a UK-approved body.

Who do the changes apply to?

The changes apply to a wide range of manufacturers and importers of products including aerosols, electrical and electronics, machinery, personal protective equipment, toys and outdoor equipment. There are different rules for other products such as medical devices. More details can be found in the government’s guidance on placing manufactured goods on the GB market. Please speak to Stuart or Claire if you are unsure whether the changes apply to your business.

Note that there is separate guidance on placing manufactured goods on the EU market. Different guidance also applies when placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland.

How we can help

Both UK-based manufacturing businesses and those importing products into the UK will no doubt be relieved to hear about the transitional provisions to post-Brexit product safety marking recently announced by the government. The post-Brexit regulatory landscape can be difficult to navigate and there are numerous challenges to overcome to ensure compliance with the various deviations from previous EU regulations when placing products on the GB market. Taking advantage of any transitional provisions available can significantly ease the burden for businesses faced with a number of converging regulatory compliance issues and we would advise businesses to act now to secure the maximum benefit from the transitional provisions available before 31 December 2022.

We have a large team of commercial, regulatory and international trade specialists who can provide advice and assistance on all aspects of product safety, the complexities of trading internationally and navigating supply chain issues including disputes. If you have any queries arising from this briefing, please contact Stuart or Claire, who will be very happy to help.

Product Safety mark on the bottom of headphones