Here you will find basic information about the roles and responsibilities of product designers, manufacturers, and those acting as their authorised representatives.
If you design or make products, even for use in your own workplace, then they must meet minimum requirements for safety and health when first placed on the market or put into service. The responsibility for ensuring that all equipment for use at work is designed and constructed to be safe rests with the product manufacturer or their authorised representative (also known as in the context of machinery as the 'responsible person').
These requirements may also need to be met if you:
- import equipment which is not new but 'new to the market'
- rebrand equipment with your own name, so taking on ‘manufacturer’s responsibility’ for the product
- refurbish equipment to such an extent that additional significant risks are created (e.g. manual machinery provided with new features like computer control)
A group of product regulations concerning safety and preventing risks to health (by design and construction of most new work equipment) apply at the point products are first placed on the market or put into service. These also cover other issues of public interest protection (e.g. environmental matters),
These regulations primarily require work equipment to be designed, manufactured and supplied or put in service to a minimum level– (and with all the parts and information necessary) that ensures health and safety in their use. Relevant standards may be used to support this process.
General responsibilities for manufacturers
- Designing and manufacturing products in accordance with the essential health, safety or any other objectives of all applicable product legislation, by carrying out (or having carried out) the relevant conformity assessment procedure
- Drawing up and keeping the technical documentation, including Declaration of Conformity, and any associated Declarations of Incorporation or Performance
- Ensuring products have appropriate conformity marking and are:
- labelled to include type, batch or serial number or other element allowing its identification, and the name and address of the manufacturer, or
- where it is not possible for any of these to be indicated on the product, in some cases the manufacturer must instead ensure that the information is indicated on its packaging or in a document accompanying the product
- Ensuring products are accompanied by the required documents in English – usually the instructions and safety information, in a form which is easily understood by the intended end-user, and in many cases the Declaration of Conformity
- Manufacturers must ensure traceability of products by identifying to the authorities any other economic operator to whom they supplied it (for ten years from the supply date).
When products could present a risk
Where a manufacturer has reason to believe that products which they have placed on the market are not in conformity, including where the product presents a risk, they must immediately:
- take the corrective measures necessary to bring the product into conformity
- withdraw the product from the market, or
- recall it
Where the product presents a risk, the manufacturer must immediately inform the relevant market surveillance authorities, explaining why the product is considered not to be in conformity, and any corrective measures taken.
Following a request from an enforcing authority, manufacturers must provide them with all the information and documentation necessary to demonstrate that the product is in conformity. They must also cooperate with the relevant authorities to evaluate and eliminate risk posed by a product.
Manufacturers must also carry out sample testing on products which they have supplied, when a product could present risks to the health and safety of users. If necessary, they must also keep a register of complaints, non-conforming products and product recalls, and keep others in the supply chain informed about such monitoring.
A manufacturer may, by written mandate, appoint a person as their authorised representative to perform specified tasks (within limits) on their behalf.
Authorised representatives must fulfil their obligations for the manufacturer (but manufacturers remain responsible for the product and the proper performance of any obligations the authorised representative performs on their behalf).