Machinery Safety 101

Brexit’s impact

The UK Con­ser­vat­ive Party win last week has finally drawn an end to the ongo­ing uncer­tainty cre­ated by the Brexit ref­er­en­dum and the dither­ing that fol­lowed the UK Par­lia­ment. Prime Min­is­ter Bor­is John­son has declared that the UK will exit by the end of Janu­ary 2020. For non-EU man­u­fac­tur­ers of machinery, what impact will this have on their busi­ness? All third-coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers are required to have an EU-headquartered Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive. If your Author­ised Rep­res­ent­at­ive is UK based, you have a prob­lem.

Authorised Representatives

Besides the uncer­tainty that still exists about product safety marks for the UK fol­low­ing Brexit, the one point that is resolved relates to the use of Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ives. While not spelled out expli­citly, the 2006/42/EC Machinery Dir­ect­ive requires third-coun­try man­u­fac­tur­ers to use an Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive. Most North Amer­ic­an machine build­ers select an Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive in a coun­try that speaks either Eng­lish or French and many have selec­ted com­pan­ies loc­ated in the UK for Eng­lish speak­ing ser­vices.

An Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive is a nat­ur­al per­son or an organ­iz­a­tion that offers cer­tain spe­cif­ic leg­al ser­vices, includ­ing hold­ing a copy of the tech­nic­al file for machines sold in the EU by your com­pany. An Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive must be headquartered in an EU Mem­ber State accord­ing to EU law, and this is where Brexit is going to throw a wrench into many man­u­fac­turer­’s New Year.

EU Headquarters

With the UK’s exit from the EU in Janu­ary, con­tracts with Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ives headquartered in the UK will become inval­id unless the Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive has moved their headquar­ters into one of the EU27 coun­tries. Many Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ives have moved their headquar­ters to Ire­land, main­tain­ing their abil­ity to offer Eng­lish ser­vices while stay­ing with­in the EU.

If you use a com­pany in the UK for Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive ser­vices, now is the time to call them. Ask if they have moved their headquar­ters, or how they intend to main­tain their ser­vice to you. If they have not moved their headquar­ters to anoth­er EU mem­ber state, then it’s time to end that rela­tion­ship and start a new one with an organ­iz­a­tion that is headquartered in the EU.

Previous Sales

For equip­ment pre­vi­ously sold into the EU with an Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive loc­ated in the UK, you have some options. The first is to ensure that the pre­vi­ous Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive has the new organ­iz­a­tion’s con­tact inform­a­tion. Next, you should cre­ate a bul­let­ing or an advis­ory let­ter that is sent to all cus­tom­ers, advising them of the change and provid­ing the new Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive’s con­tact inform­a­tion. This inform­a­tion should also be pos­ted on your web­site wherever CE Marked product is shown. Finally, cre­ate a new label or name­plate that can be put on your products in the field that shows the new Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive’s con­tact inform­a­tion, and provides a start­ing date:

Example

As of 2020-01-31, the Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive for ABC Machinery Co. Ltd. in the EU is:

ACME Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive Ser­vices Co.
123 Ailes­bury Road,
Dub­lin 4, Ire­land
+353 1 123‑4567
https://www.acme-auth.co.ie

A label like that above could then be provided to cus­tom­ers with instruc­tions for place­ment on exist­ing machines.

If you don’t cur­rently have an Author­ized Rep­res­ent­at­ive, excel­lent guid­ance on what to look for can be found in the EU “Blue Guide”. If you need more help, please get in touch.

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