Electrical Safety: Low Voltage Directive (LVD)
More than a century after their emergence, electrical appliances are still developing more and more to the benefit of society. A safe use of all electrical equipment is a condition to this sustained deployment.
The Low Voltage Directive (LVD) 2006/95/EC is one of the oldest Single Market Directives adopted before the "New" or "Global" Approach. However, it does characterise both with a conformity assessment procedure applied to equipment before placing on the Market and with Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) which such equipment must meet either directly or by means of harmonised standards.
The LVD ensures that electrical equipment within certain voltage limits both provides a high level of protection for European citizens and enjoys a Single Market in the European Union. The Directive covers electrical equipment with a voltage between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current. It should be noted that these voltage ratings refer to the voltage of the electrical input or output, not to voltages that may appear inside the equipment. For most electrical equipment, the health aspects of emissions of Electromagnetic Fields are also under the domain of the Low Voltage Directive.
For electrical equipment within its scope, the Directive covers all health and safety risks, thus ensuring that electrical equipment will be used safely and in applications for which it was made. Guidelines on application and Recommendations are available - including LVD Administrative Co-operation Working Group (LVD ADCO) documents and recommendations - as well as European Commission opinions within framework of the Directive.
See also the working structure and contact points related to the Directive.
In respect of conformity assessment, there is no third party intervention, as the manufacturer undertakes the conformity assessment. There are "Notified Bodies" which may be used to provide reports in response to a challenge by a national authority as to the conformity of the equipment.
With regard to the international development in the European policy, both national authorities and industry consider it to have been a success and a role model for other trade blocs, where mandatory third-party intervention is usually the norm. European accident levels with respect to this type of equipment have been shown to be consistently lower than other comparable trading regions, although a nil level of accidents is the absolute objective.
For further information on low-voltage electrical equipment.
The new LVD Directive 2014/35/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits (recast) (all languages), aligned to the New Legislative Framework, will be applicable from 20 April 2016.