Brexit and Product Labeling Compliance: The UKCA Marking Deadline

By Clarion Safety Systems | 22nd Jun 2021

In addition to designing products and equipment to be as safe as possible for end users, today’s manufacturers must also juggle important industrial specifications, like regulatory compliance. Regulatory markings are required on products being shipped into and out of certain countries to comply with various national and international  product labeling regulations. Failure to label a product with required markings could result in it being permanently shelved in addition to costly fines and penalties. When the United Kingdom (UK) officially left the European Union last year, they remained in the single market, essentially allowing goods marked with the CE marking to continue to be accepted into the UK for a limited time (a “transition period”). At the conclusion of December 2020, the UK officially left the single market, requiring a new product marking to be used – the United Kingdom Conformity Assessed (UKCA) marking. 

Product Conformity in Focus: A New Marking
Currently, the UK is still in its transition period, meaning products that meet EU requirements may continue to be sold on the UK market (England, Scotland, and Wales). Both the CE marking and the new UKCA marking will be accepted and considered compliant to allow businesses the proper time to adjust to these changes. In most cases, CE mark labels can still be used until January 1, 2022. Once legislation ends this transitional period, however, goods intended for the UK market must be affixed with the new UKCA mark to be in compliance. The UKCA logo will replace the CE logo, and the EU "declaration of conformity” will be replaced by the UK "declaration of conformity," ultimately declaring conformity with the new UKCA regulations.

Essentially, the fundamental principles between the CE marking and the UKCA marking will remain the same during the transition. After that, UKCA will be a mandatory, official indicator that a product conforms to UK legislation. When comparing the two markings, their differences are mostly administrative in nature, reflecting that UKCA only applies in the UK and requires information in English only.

Using the UKCA Marking
Generally, the UKCA marking must be applied directly to a product or its packaging. It might also be required to be applied to product manuals or other supporting collateral. Requirements will vary depending on the product and the specific regulations that apply to it. To help manufacturers comply with the upcoming regulation change, here are a few tips on how to properly affix the UKCA symbol to products and equipment:

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  • Only a manufacturer is able to apply the UKCA marking to a product (authorized representatives are allowed to apply the marking where legislation allows).
  • Manufacturers take full responsibility for conforming to relevant legislation when applying the marking.
  • The marking must only be used to show product conformity with the UK legislation.
  • Any marking or sign that misconstrues the meaning or form of the UKCA marking must not be used.
  • Do not attach visuals that effect the visibility, legibility, or meaning of the marking.
  • The UKCA marking must not be applied to a product unless there is a distinct requirement to do so.

Using the UKNI Marking
While the UKCA marking does not go into effect for a few more months, Northern Ireland has launched its own conformity marking that went into effect on January 1, 2021 - the UKNI mark. Northern Ireland is continuing to use EU conformity markings to show goods that meet EU standards, and while a majority will still use the CE mark, a few will require the UKNI. Here are the parameters for using the UKNI mark:

  • You are placing certain goods (subject to CE marking) on the Northern Ireland market.
  • Your goods require mandatory third-party conformity assessments.
  • You plan to use a UK body to carry out that assessment.

What Manufacturers Can Expect
It’s important to note that the upcoming regulations do not impact product safety and other compliance standards. These standards remain unchanged and are required to be applied as normal. However, there are a few changes that manufacturers can expect. For example, EU-based businesses that bring UK products into the EU will be classified as an “importer” which requires its own set of compliance responsibilities. Currently, these businesses are classified as “distributors” which must provide various declarations, instructions, and markings as it is. As importers, though, a company’s products must also contain a technical file and indicate their business name and address on the product (a significant requirement).

Additionally, as of January 1, 2021, importers of products marketed in the UK must be established in the UK. They can meet their product labeling requirements by including specific information on documents accompanying their product for a period of 18 months. Authorized representatives already established in the EEA will continue to be recognized by the UK. Those established after December 31, 2020 must be established in the UK.

Your Regulatory Compliance Label Needs
We're here to help with your regulatory labels, whether it's related to WEEERoHS/CEREACH, UKCA, or UKNI - and we can work together to find the right size, shape, and material to meet your specific requirements.

As we near the end of the transitionary period for UKCA markings, we're receiving more questions and requests from customers related to CE, UKCA, and UKNI markings for their products and equipment.

Here's how Clarion Safety can help:

  • In addition to your CE mark labels, we can produce your UKCA mark labels and UKNI mark labels, meeting your specifications and all requirements for the marks.
  • Through our consulting practice, Clarion Safety Assessment, we offer hands-on guidance related to machinery safety and risk, now including CE mark, UKCA mark, and UKNI mark compliance.

Get in touch and let us know how we can help get your products ready for 2022.