The 31st December 2020 was an important date in many ways as it marked the end of the transition period for the UK to leave the EU.
To coincide with this, the Government announced the launch of the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking. This is used for goods placed on the market in Great Britain, encompassing England, Wales and Scotland but not Northern Ireland which has its own marking. This covers most goods which previously required the CE mark: a well-established accreditation which is being used differently.
This article from Redpack Packaging Machinery explains details of this change, what all the current UKCA / UKNI rules are at the time of writing, as well as guidance on how it affects manufacturers and suppliers alike.
What’s it all about?
With CE usage changing, two new markings are being gradually phased in as a result. For Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales), the new conformity marking is UKCA. In Northern Ireland, CE can continue to be used. However, there is also a new conformity marking for products that have undergone mandatory third-party conformity assessment by a body based in the UK, and that are supplied in Northern Ireland. This is called UKNI marking.
These conformity marks are important because, like the previous CE mark, they demonstrate that the product has been designed and manufactured in accordance with prevailing health and safety requirements. They too use a logo to show they comply.
What is the timing of the changeover?
As of January 2023, suppliers of products for Great Britain must ensure these carry the UKCA marking where required. They must also ensure that the necessary documentation comes with the product and it is supplied to the purchaser.
This new marking does not affect existing stock or goods that were manufactured before 1st January 2021. In this case the goods can still be sold in Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body.
What will it affect?
Among other things, it encompasses:
How do you use it?
As with the previous CE mark, the UKCA & UKNI marks needs to be applied to the product itself or to the packaging. In some cases, it may be placed on the manuals or on other supporting literature however this will vary depending on specific product regulations.
It’s important that manufacturers and suppliers understand the UKCA and UKNI marking requirements, and from what dates the new rules are in effect. For manufacturers, the rules impact what markings they should be placing on their products; for suppliers, it affects what they can and can’t supply at certain points in time.
What are the UKCA marking requirements?
From the 1st of January 2023, all new products supplied in Great Britain must be marked with UKCA, or be accompanied by documentation that is marked with it. The UK Government advises that manufacturers should start using the UKCA marking as soon as possible, to ensure they meet the deadline.
UKCA covers most products which previously required the CE marking, known as ‘new approach’ goods. Some products will have their own special rules surrounding markings and conformity however, including medical devices.
Until then, it is permitted for new products to be either CE or UKCA marked. CE marked equipment that is already in circulation can therefore still be supplied until the 31st of December 2022, and it can continue to be used by suppliers until it needs replacing if it was supplied before that point.
What are the UKNI marking requirements?
Similar to the UKCA mark, a new marking has been introduced for Northern Ireland. This is the UKNI marking, which is used in conjunction with an EU conformity marking. The Northern Ireland Protocol came into force as of the 1st of January 2021, so the rules for using this marking are now fully in effect.
In Northern Ireland, EU conformity markings continue to be used to show that goods meet EU rules. For most manufactured goods, this is the CE marking. However, the UKNI marking is for products placed on the market in Northern Ireland which have undergone mandatory third-party conformity assessment by a body based in the UK. It must be placed on the product alongside an EU conformity marking, such as in conjunction with CE. It must not be used on its own.
The UKNI marking can’t be used if the product is going to be placed on the market in the EU, or if a mandatory third-party conformity assessment is carried out by an EU body. In that case, it should just have CE.
Considerations for manufacturers
Before putting a conformity mark onto a product, manufacturers must follow the conformity procedure required for that product and the requirements of any relevant legislation. This usually involves carrying out a risk assessment, considering all the essential requirements relevant to the product, and ensuring these have been met.
Manufacturers can usually do this themselves, as long as they have the necessary expertise and they consult specialists where needed. Some products will require the use of a conformity assessment body, however. There is guidance and some set standards that can be reviewed to support this process.
In most cases, manufacturers in the UK must put the UKCA or UKNI and CE marking directly on the product or packaging. If they are supplying to the EU, it must carry CE alone. There are some circumstances where it can be on manuals and other documentation, such as if the product is too small for the marking to be placed on it (e.g. ear plugs for hearing protection).
In terms of applying markings, manufacturer duties for the UKCA and UKNI markings are as follows:
Considerations for suppliers
As of January 2023, suppliers of products for Great Britain must ensure their products carry the UKCA mark where required. They must also ensure that the necessary documentation comes along with it and its supplied with the product at the time of purchase.
As of January 2021, suppliers of products that have undergone mandatory third-party conformity assessment by a body based in the UK, but are placed on the market in Northern Ireland, must have the UKNI marking alongside an EU conformity marking, such as CE. As with UKCA goods, the necessary documentation must be supplied with the product.
For more information on how to comply with packaging machinery regulations contact email@example.com