Electrical equipment must be safe, made using good engineering practice and comply with specific product safety regulations.
Electrical and electronic product safety regulations
The key piece of legislation that electrical equipment must comply with is the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 implementing the EU Directive 2014/35/EU – the Low Voltage Directive.
Other product safety legislation covers electrical safety aspects of products covered by these Regulations, amongst their own essential safety requirements for products in their scope include:
- Medical Devices Regulations 2002
- Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
- Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011
- Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016
- Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016
- Radio Equipment Regulations 2017
Principal electrical product safety objectives
Electrical equipment must:
- be constructed in such a way to ensure that it can be used safely and for the purpose that it was made
- be designed so that the equipment, including its component parts, can be safely and properly assembled and connected
- be marked with instructions and information required for the equipment to be used safely must be marked on the equipment or in an accompanying notice
- operate at a safe temperature with no dangerous arcing or radiation
- have adequate insulation for foreseeable conditions
- have the right technical information available, demonstrating compliance with CE marking requirements and a 'declaration of conformity'
CE marking for electrical goods
Electrical products sold in the European Economic Area must have CE marking. A CE mark is a declaration that the equipment complies with the regulations.
Second-hand electrical goods
You must ensure that second-hand electrical goods meet legal safety requirements. You must only sell domestic appliances that are correctly fitted with an approved plug, with sleeved neutral and live pins, and the correct fuse.
If you are unsure whether the goods are safe, you should have them tested by a competent person. The items tested should be clearly identified in a report describing the test carried out and the results. The tester should also label each item to show it has passed and include the date and their initials. All failed equipment should be destroyed if it cannot be safely repaired. Download maintaining portable electrical equipment (PDF, 502KB).
You should also check whether the electrical appliances are subject to a recall. The product recall section of the GOV.UK website contains links to various providers of product recall information, including recalls of electrical products. See product recalls.
It is good practice to advise all staff that no electrical goods are to be sold unless it has a CE mark and a dated PAT (portable appliance test) label is attached. Keep all test reports for your own reference and to show enforcement officers if requested.
Read about safety regulations that apply to other products and where to go for more information - see products covered by specific safety regulations.