Our article last week on Brexit revealed some worrying new research undertaken on the effects of leaving the EU with or without a deal, with warnings from Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London that a hard Brexit may lead to a “lost decade of lower growth”, costing the country half a million jobs and a massive £50 billion in lost investment by 2030. One of the major issues that’s been raised recently is that more than 200 agencies that provide CE safety labels on products may lose recognition after March 2019, unless an agreement can be reached.
Obviously, as a proud manufacturer of products that qualify to carry the CE mark here at Safety Fabrications, this is gloomy news for us and gloomy news for so many other manufacturers in many sectors, not just construction. In an official notice, the European Commission (EC) has said that agencies that provide the safety certificates may lose their status as EU notified bodies and will be removed from the EU database of such organisations from the withdrawal date.
Products of all types, ranging from MRI scanners, phones, electrical goods, toys, safety equipment, etc. all carry the CE safety labels, as do the products we manufacture here at Safety Fabrications. We published two articles back in 2015 on the CE mark, explaining what it is and why it’s so important. The CE mark is a sign that a product has been professionally evaluated and deemed fit for purpose, meeting the necessary European Technical Specifications that render it safe to use.
Assessing products for CE mark is a highly specialised job and, at present more than 200 agencies here in the UK, including the British Standards Institute (BSI) and Lloyds Register, offer manufacturers compliance testing to ensure that products meet the requirements of EU safety directives. The BSI certifies high end medical equipment such as heart valves, artificial hips and MRI machines. Many of the BSI’s clients use the UK as a gateway to Europe and the organisation certifies 7,000 products each year using highly specialised teams when making their decision on whether or not a product should be awarded a CE certificate.
While manufacturers from around the world can obtain their CE certificate from any EU member state, Britain enjoys a reputation for expertise in testing and EU data shows that two thirds of medical devices on sale in the EU are CE certified in the UK.
The EC has advised manufacturers that they should consider the legal repercussions and either obtain their future CE certificates from another EU member state or transfer existing files to an EU-notified body which could take up to six months! The CE safety label is required under 15 directives and covers a wide range of products which includes construction products and equipment, medical devices, diagnostic equipment, marine equipment, noise emission devices and toys.
The EC notice brings into stark reality the challenges that face exporters as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and the risk to jobs in EU-related work here in the UK. Needless to say, here at Safety Fabrications, we take pride in the fact that our products bear CE certificates designating them safe to use and fit for purpose so we’ll be keeping an eye on this issue and bringing our readers more news as it happens.