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    COUNCIL DIRECTIVE of 19 February 1973 on the harmonization of the 
    laws of Member States relating to electrical equipment designed 
    for use within certain voltage limits
    
    (73/23/EEC)
    
    THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES 
    
    Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Economic 
    Community, and in particular Article 100 thereof; 
    
    Having regard to the proposal from the Commission; 
    
    Having regard to the Opinion of the European Parliament; 
    
    Having regard to the Opinion of the Economic and Social 
    Committee; 
    
    Whereas the provisions in force in the Member States designed to 
    ensure safety in the use of electrical equipment used within 
    certain voltage limits may differ, thus impeding trade; 
    
    Whereas in certain Member States in respect of certain electrical 
    equipment, the safety legislation takes the form of preventive 
    and repressive measures by means of binding provisions; 
    
    Whereas in other Member States in order to achieve the same 
    objective, the safety legislation provides for reference to 
    technical standards laid down by Standards Bodies; whereas such a 
    system offers the advantage of rapid adjustment to technical 
    progress without neglecting safety requirements; 
    
    Whereas certain Member States carry out administrative operations 
    to approve standards; whereas such approval neither affects the 
    technical content of the standards in any way nor limits their 
    conditions of use; whereas such approval cannot therefore alter 
    the effects, from a Community point of view, of harmonized and 
    published standards; 
    
    Whereas within the Community the free movement of electrical 
    equipment should follow when this equipment complies with certain 
    safety requirements recognised in all Member States; whereas 
    without prejudice to any other form of proof, the proof of 
    compliance with these requirements may be established by 
    reference to harmonized standards which incorporate these 
    conditions; whereas these harmonized standards should be 
    established by common agreement by bodies to be notified by each 
    Member State to the other Member States and to the Commission and 
    should be publicized as widely as possible; whereas such 
    harmonization should for the purposes of trade eliminate the 
    inconveniences resulting from differences between national 
    standards; 
    
    Whereas, without prejudice to any other form of proof, the 
    compliance of electrical equipment with the harmonized standards 
    may be presumed from the affixing or issue of marks or 
    certificates by the competent organizations or, in the absence 
    thereof, from a manufacturer's declaration of compliance; whereas 
    in order to facilitate the removal of barriers to trade the 
    Member States should recognize such marks or certificates or such 
    declaration as elements of proof: whereas, with this end in view, 
    the said marks or certificates should be published in particular 
    by their publication in the Official Journal of the European 
    Communities; 
    
    Whereas as a transitional measure, the free movement of 
    electrical equipment for which harmonized standards do not yet 
    exist may be achieved by applying the safety provisions or 
    standards already laid down by other international bodies or by 
    one of the bodies which establish harmonized standards; 
    
    Whereas it is possible that electrical equipment may be placed in 
    free circulation even though it does not comply with the safety 
    requirements, and whereas it is therefore desirable to lay down 
    suitable provisions to minimize this danger; 
    
    HAS ADOPTED THIS DIRECTIVE: 
    
    Article 1 
    
    For the purposes of this Directive 'electrical equipment' means 
    any equipment designed for use with a voltage rating of between 
    50 and 1000V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500V for 
    direct current, other than the equipment and phenomena listed in 
    Annex II. 
    
    Article 2 
    
    1.  The Member States shall take all appropriate measures to 
    ensure that electrical equipment may be placed on the market only 
    if, having been constructed in accordance with good engineering 
    practice in safety matters in force in the Community, it does not 
    endanger the safety of persons, domestic animals or property when 
    properly installed and maintained and used in applications for 
    which it was made. 
    
    2.  The principal elements of the safety objectives referred to 
    in paragraph 1 are listed in Annex I. 
    
    Article 3 
    
    The Member States shall take all appropriate measures to ensure 
    that if electrical equipment is of such a nature as to comply 
    with the provisions of Article 2, subject to the conditions laid 
    down in Articles 5, 6, 7 and 8, the free movement thereof within 
    the Community shall not be impeded for reasons of safety. 
    
    Article 4 
    
    In relation to electrical equipment the Member States shall 
    ensure that stricter safety requirements than those laid down in 
    Article 2 are not imposed by electricity supply bodies for 
    connection to the grid or for the supply of electricity to users 
    of electrical equipment. 
    
    Article 5 
    
    The Member States shall take all appropriate measures to ensure 
    that, in particular, electrical equipment which complies with the 
    safety provisions of harmonized standards shall be regarded by 
    their competent administrative authorities as complying with the 
    provisions of Article 2 for the purposes of placing on the market 
    and free movement as referred to in Articles 2 and 3 
    respectively. 
    
    Standards shall be regarded as harmonized once they are drawn up 
    by common agreement between the bodies notified by the Member 
    States in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 11, 
    and published under national procedures. The standards shall be 
    kept up to date in the light of technological progress and the 
    developments in good engineering practice in safety matters. 
    
    For purposes of information the list of harmonized standards and 
    their references shall be published in the Official Journal of 
    the European Communities. 
    
    Articles 6 
    
    1.  Where harmonized standards as defined in Article 5 have not 
    yet been drawn up and published, the Member States shall take all 
    appropriate measures to ensure that for the purposes of placing 
    on the market or free movement as referred to in Articles 2 and 3 
    respectively, their competent administrative authorities shall 
    also regard, as complying with the provisions of Article 2, 
    electrical equipment which complies with the safety provisions of 
    the International Commission on the Rules for the Approval of 
    Electrical Equipment (CEE) or of the International 
    Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in respect of which the 
    publication procedure laid down in paragraphs 2 and 3 has been 
    applied. 
    
    2.  The safety provisions referred to in paragraph 1 shall be 
    notified to the Member States by the Commission as from the entry 
    into force of this Directive, and thereafter as and when they are 
    published. The Commission, after consulting the Member States, 
    shall state the provisions and in particular the variants which 
    it recommends to be published. 
    
    3.  The Member States shall inform the Commission within a period 
    of three months of such objections as they may have to the 
    provisions thus notified, stating the safety grounds on account 
    of which the provisions should not be recognized. 
    
    For purposes of information those safety provisions against which 
    no objection has been raised shall be published in the Official 
    Journal of the European Communities. 
    
    Article 7 
    
    Where harmonized standards within the meaning of Article 5 or 
    safety provisions published in accordance with Article 6 are not 
    yet in existence, the Member States shall take all appropriate 
    measures to ensure that, for the purpose of placing on the market 
    or free movement as referred to in Articles 2 and 3 respectively, 
    their competent administrative authorities shall also regard as 
    complying with the provisions of Article 2, electrical equipment 
    manufactured in accordance with the safety provisions of the 
    standards in force in the Member State of manufacture, if it 
    ensures a safety level equivalent to that required in their own 
    territory. 
    
    Article 8 
    
    1.  The Member States shall take all appropriate steps to ensure 
    that their competent administrative authorities shall also allow 
    the placing on the market or free movement, as referred to in 
    Articles 2 and 3 respectively, of electrical equipment which, 
    although not conforming with the harmonized standards referred to 
    in Article 5 or the provisions of Articles 6 and 7, complies with 
    the provisions of Article 2. 
    
    2.  In the event of a challenge the manufacturer or importer may 
    submit a report, drawn up by a body, which is notified in 
    accordance with the procedure set out in Article 11, on the 
    conformity of the electrical equipment with the provisions of 
    Article 2. 
    
    Article 9 
    
    1.  If, for safety reasons, a Member State prohibits the placing 
    on the market of any electrical equipment or impedes its free 
    movement, it shall immediately inform the other Member States 
    concerned and the Commission, indicating the grounds for its 
    decision and stating in particular: 
    
    -       whether its non-conformity with Article 2 is attributable 
    to a shortcoming in the harmonized standards referred to in 
    Article 5, the provisions referred to in Article 6 or the 
    standards referred to in Article 7. 
    
    -       whether its non-conformity is attributable to faulty 
    application of such standards or publications or to failure to 
    comply with good engineering practice as referred to in Article 
    2. 
    
    2.  If other Member States raise objections to the decision 
    referred to in paragraph 1, the Commission shall immediately 
    consult the Member States concerned. 
    
    3.  If an agreement has not been reached within three months from 
    the date of notification as laid down in paragraph 1, the 
    Commission shall obtain the opinion of one of the bodies notified 
    in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 11 having 
    its registered office outside the territory of the Member States 
    concerned and which has not been involved in the procedure 
    provided for in Article 8. The opinion shall state the extent to 
    which the provisions of Article 2 have not been complied with. 
    
    4.  The Commission shall communicate the opinion of this body to 
    all the Member States which may, within a period of one month, 
    make their observations known to the Commission. The Commission 
    shall at the same time note any observations by the parties 
    concerned on the above-mentioned opinion. 
    
    5.  Having taken note of these observations the Commission shall, 
    if necessary, formulate the appropriate recommendations or 
    opinions. 
    
    Article 10 
    
    1.  Without prejudice to other methods of proof, the Member 
    States shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that their 
    competent administrative authorities shall accept that there is a 
    presumption of conformity with the provisions of Articles 5, 6 
    and 7 where a mark has been placed on the electrical equipment 
    denoting conformity, or where a certificate of conformity is 
    produced or, in the absence thereof, and in particular in the 
    case of industrial equipment, the manufacturer's declaration of 
    conformity. 
    
    2.  The marks or certificates shall be established, separately or 
    by common agreement, by the bodies notified in accordance with 
    the procedure laid down in Article 11. Specimens of these marks 
    or certificates shall be published by these bodies and, for 
    information purposes in the Official Journal of the European 
    Communities. 
    
    Article 11 
    
    Each Member State shall inform the other Member States and the 
    Commission of the following: 
    
    -       the bodies referred to in Article 5; 
    
    -       the bodies which may establish the marks and certificates 
    in accordance with the provisions of Article 10; 
    
    -       the bodies which may make a report in accordance with the 
    provisions of Article 8 or give an opinion in accordance with the 
    provisions of Article 9; 
    
    -       the place of publication referred to in Article 5(2); 
    
    Any amendment to the above shall be notified by each Member State 
    to the other Member States and to the Commission. 
    
    Article 12 
    
    This Directive shall not apply to electrical equipment intended 
    for export to third countries. 
    
    Article 13 
    
    1.  The Member States shall put into force the laws, regulations 
    and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the 
    requirements of this Directive within eighteen months of its 
    notification and shall forthwith inform the Commission thereof. 
    
    However, in the case of Denmark, the time limit shall be extended 
    to five years. 
    
    2.  The Member States shall communicate to the Commission the 
    texts of the main provisions of national laws which they adopt in 
    the field covered by this Directive. 
    
    Article l4 
    
    This Directive is addressed to the Member States. 
    
    Done at Brussels, 19 February 1973. 
    
                                                    For the Council 
                                                    The President 
                                                    A LAVENS 
    
    
                                                                            
    ANNEX I 
    
    PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS OF THE SAFETY OBJECTIVES FOR ELECTRICAL 
    EQUIPMENT DESIGNED FOR USE WITHIN CERTAIN VOLTAGE LIMITS 
    
    1.  General conditions 
    
       a)   The essential characteristics, the recognition and 
    observance of which will ensure that electrical equipment will be 
    used safely and in applications for which it was made, shall be 
    marked on the equipment, or, if this is not possible, on an 
    accompanying notice. 
    
       b)   The manufacturers or brand name or trade mark should be 
    clearly printed on the electrical equipment or, where that is not 
    possible, on the packaging. 
    
       c)   The electrical equipment, together with its component 
    parts should be made in such a way as to ensure that it can be 
    safely and properly assembled and connected. 
    
       d)   The electrical equipment should be so designed and 
    manufactured as to ensure that protection against the hazards set 
    out in points 2 and 3 of this Annex is assured providing that the 
    equipment is used in applications for which it was made and is 
    adequately maintained. 
    
    2.  Protection against hazards arising from electrical equipment 
    
    Measures of a technical nature should be prescribed in accordance 
    with point 1, in order to ensure: 
    
       a)   that persons and domestic animals are adequately 
    protected against danger of physical injury or other harm which 
    might be caused by electrical contact direct or indirect; 
    
       b)   that temperatures, arcs or radiation which would cause a 
    danger, are not produced; 
    
       c)   that persons, domestic animals and property are 
    adequately protected against non-electrical dangers caused by the 
    electrical equipment which are revealed by experience; 
    
       d)   that the insulation must be suitable for foreseeable 
    conditions. 
    
    3.  Protection against hazards which may be caused by external 
    influences on the electrical equipment 
    
    Technical measures are to be laid down in accordance with point 
    1, in order to ensure: 
    
       a)   that the electrical equipment meets the expected 
    mechanical requirements in such a way that persons, domestic 
    animals and property are not endangered; 
       b)   that the electrical equipment shall be resistant to non-
    mechanical influences in expected environmental conditions, in 
    such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not 
    endangered; 
       c)   that the electrical equipment shall not endanger persons, 
    domestic animals and property in foreseeable conditions of 
    overload. 
    
    ANNEX II 
    
    EQUIPMENT AND PHENOMENA OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF THE DIRECTIVE 
    
    Electrical equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere 
    
    Electrical equipment for radiology and medical purposes 
    
    Electrical parts for goods and passenger lifts 
    
    Electricity meters 
    
    Plugs and socket outlets for domestic use 
    
    Electric fence controllers 
    
    Radio-electrical interference 
    
    Specialized electrical equipment, for use on ships, aircraft or 
    railways, which complies with the safety provisions drawn up by 
    international bodies in which the Member States participate.
    
    
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    "Thanks go to Nick Rouse of Fisons Instruments for providing this rendering of the Low Voltage Directive"

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