As the UK edges closer to (yet another) ‘Exit Day’, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has published additional detailed guides for business on specific product safety regulations in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
The new guidance will only apply in the event of a No Deal Brexit, but the OPSS is encouraging all businesses to take note and prepare for this scenario. We anticipate that this guidance will be further updated as the 31 October Exit Day approaches.
Amongst others, the guidance supplements the following key pieces of legislation:
- The General Product Safety Regulations 2005
- The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016
- The Radio Equipment Regulations 2017
- The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008
The guidance does not create any new obligations, or provide significant further clarification for businesses on the manner in which the government intends to regulate product safety post-Brexit. However, it is evident that the government is keen to ensure that only safe products are supplied on the UK market, and the transition is as seamless as possible.
Advice for businesses
As a reminder, businesses need to be aware that:
- Where a manufacturer is based in the EU, a distributor established in the UK who places a product on the UK market will now be considered the ‘producer’ for the purposes of UK product safety legislation.
- Similarly, a person who before the UK left the EU distributed products in the EU (including the UK) will be considered an importer if they are bringing such equipment into the UK for the first time, and will gain the corresponding “importer” obligations.
- The UKCA mark will replace the CE marking for relevant products placed on the UK market, but for a limited period of time (to be determined in consultation with industry) manufacturers will be able to elect to affix either the CE mark or the UKCA mark on the basis of self-declaration.
- For a limited time period, Radio equipment assessed by an EU recognised notified body prior to the UK leaving the EU does not need reassessment before being placed on the UK market.
This guidance further underlines the intention of the OPSS and the government to reassure businesses that a No Deal Brexit will not mean dramatic changes to the UK product safety landscape. Businesses need to be conscious of the changes set out above, in particular the new requirements that may be imposed on companies that currently act as distributors on the UK market.
We anticipate that the government will seek to consult with businesses likely to be affected by any significant changes to the CE marking and notified body regime. Therefore, businesses should be prepared to continue adapting to the post-Brexit landscape, even though significant changes are unlikely to take place on Exit Day itself.