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NANDO: Conformity assessments ensure safe products

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For almost 30 years, products have been circulating freely in Europe based on the simple condition that producers can guarantee their products (e.g., hair dryers, toys, smartphones, TVs, washing machines, etc.) are safe. One of the ways in which this is achieved is to have the products tested and certified against the ’essential requirements’ of the applicable legislation by the bodies listed in the database called NANDO. These organisations provide conformity assessment services both inside and outside the EU, and thus protect Europe’s citizens and businesses.

Some 1 600 ‘notified bodies’ have been designated by Member States to provide assessment services to ensure products’ conformity to European regulations. These bodies are listed in the NANDO database – ‘New Approach Notified and Designated Organisations’ – and can serve as a valuable resource to European companies with questions or concerns about quality standards and assessment. By informing manufacturers about which conformity assessment body would be best-suited for testing their products in another country, NANDO increases collaboration and removes trade barriers within the EU.

NANDO clarifies which body can help

The ‘New Approach’ is a regulatory technique which aims to remove technical barriers to trade, the great enemy of free movement of goods.

NANDO is an excellent instrument for manufacturers to find out which conformity assessment body would be best suited for testing their products.

The official NANDO website, available below, shows lists of notified bodies, as well as the legislation for some 30 industry sectors for which bodies have been notified. Conformity assessment bodies designated by third countries with which the EU has concluded Mutual Recognition Agreements are also listed on NANDO.

Free movement of goods

The free movement of goods in the internal market depends upon an adequate level of technical harmonisation. Since 1985, the ’new approach to harmonisation and standards’ has represented a major change in dealing with the drafting of European legislation on products. It is based on a few key principles:

  • there is a clear separation between EU legislation and European standards;
  • EU harmonisation legislation, such as directives and regulations, is limited to the essential requirements (i.e., health and safety) needed to ensure the free movement of products throughout the EU;
  • the task of drawing up the corresponding technical specifications, known as harmonised standards,is entrusted to the European standardisation bodies;
  • products manufactured in conformity with harmonised standards are presumed to conform to the essential requirements;
  • standards are not mandatory, but producers must prove their products conform with the essential requirements;
  • In addition, the European ‘New Approach’ legislation:
    • deals with large families of products (e.g., machinery, toys, etc.);
    • covers horizontal risks and not specific products;
    • establishes close cooperation between public authorities and market operators;
    • is based on total harmonisation (replacing diverging national legislation), as opposed to optional harmonisation (dual regime).

NANDO is for information purposes only, and therefore does not carry legal weight. The Member State authorities are responsible for the information presented on their notification status.

Product sectors covered are determined by the relevant technical harmonisation legislation, and include household appliances, electrical equipment, machinery, pressure equipment, toys, construction materials, medical devices, measuring instruments, lifts, recreational craft and personal protective equipment. These bodies carry out an assessment of the conformity of a product before that product is placed on the market. The Commission keeps an up-to-date list of the bodies in the NANDO database.

Contact

More information available online at:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/newapproach/nando/index.cfm

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