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The Low Voltage Directive (LVD)

The Low Voltage Directive (LVD)

The Low Voltage Directive (LVD) 2014/35/EU ensures that electrical equipment within certain voltage limits provides a high level of protection for European citizens, and benefits fully from the Single Market. Electrical equipment under the LVD covers a wide range of consumer and professional products e.g. household appliances, cables, power supply units, laser equipment and some components such as fuses.

EU legislation and LVD

EU legislation in the electrical sector is important to ensure Europe-wide harmonisation of a set of essential health and safety requirements for products placed on the market.

The LVD covers all health and safety risks of electrical equipment operating with a voltage between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current. These voltage ratings refer to the voltage of the electrical input or output, not to voltages that may appear inside the equipment.

Consumer goods with a voltage below 50 V for alternating current or 75 V for direct current are dealt with by the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC, which aims to ensure that only safe consumer products are sold in the EU.

For conformity assessment, there is no third party intervention, as the manufacturer shall undertake the conformity assessment obligations.

This Directive is aligned to the New Legislative Framework policy and is applicable from 20 April 2016 replacing Directive 2006/95/EC. Nevertheless, Directive 2014/35/EU will keep the same scope and safety objectives as Directive 2006/95/EC.

Guidance

These guidelines on the application of Low Voltage Directive have been put together by the European Commission services and other stakeholders (industry, national authorities, standardisation and other bodies) to assist in the smooth and level application of the provisions of the Directive. They are not law and do not take away the relevant responsibilities provided for, but explain in an understandable way various elements of the Directive.

Who implements the Directive?

National authorities are responsible for implementing the Directive in the EU by transposing its provisions into their legislation. As a result, EU countries and others who apply the Directive’s requirements are responsible for implementation and enforcement.

It is recommended that economic operators discuss specific implementation issues with national contact points (see below).

In addition to the LVD guidelines, the following documents on the LVD Working Party and LVD Administrative Cooperation Working Group (ADCO) may be consulted.

Working Party (LVD WP)

The Working Party (LVD WP) deals with general policy issues related to the management and implementation of the Directive, chaired by the Commission and involving Member State authorities, standardisers, industry and other interested parties. LVD WP Documents are not legally binding. They aim at clarifying certain provisions or elements of the Directive.

Administrative Co-operation Working Group (LVD ADCO)

The LVD ADCO is an independent Working Group run and chaired by the Member States. The Group is a forum for cooperation and exchange of information between national market surveillance authorities.

LVD ADCO documents include "recommendations" issued by LVD ADCO WG and Reports of cross-border market surveillance projects. These documents are not legally binding. They do not necessarily represent the opinion of the European Commission or the LVD WP. If and when they are applied by market surveillance authorities, the provisions and principles of the LVD shall be respected.

Existing ADCO Recommendations

Past ADCO Recommendations

ADCO Reports and Information Documents

Commission opinions within the framework of LVD

Article 9 of the Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC enabled the European Commission to issue 'opinions'. An 'opinion' is not law, but can be used as guidance.

Standardisation

Unlike LVD 2006/95/EC, under LVD 2014/35/EU only the references of the harmonised standards published in the OJEU give presumption of conformity with the safety objectives.

Current list of European Harmonised Standards under the LVD:

Contact points

Notified bodies

Conformity assessment bodies are notified by the competent Member State authorities, to carry out the relevant conformity assessment procedures on products to be placed on the EU market, according to the applicable EU legislation.

However, unlike other EU legislation, LVD 2014/35/EU does not require notified bodies to carry out the conformity assessment procedure. The LVD conformity assessment is the manufacturers' responsibility. 

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