Published 27/02/2020

If you use harmonised standards in your EU Declaration of Conformity you need to be aware of an important change which is effective from the 20th December 2020. For many years there has been a ‘Presumption of Conformity’ for safety under the Low Voltage Directive by using well established safety standards EN 60950-1 for IT equipment and EN 60065 for Audio/Video and similar apparatus.

As from December 2020 these two standards are not used anymore and the new standard is EN 62368-1 which has a totally different approach from the previous standards. The new standard focusses on hazards present in the equipment and how safeguards are used to keep the risk of injury to a minimum. This Hazard Based Safety Engineering approach (HSBE) identifies potential energy sources and how to stop energy transfer to users and ensure suitable safeguards are in place.

It should not be assumed that products previously compliant will remain so. This does not mean that overnight the products become ‘dangerous’ but unless the new standard is used then manufacturers will need additional work to ensure they are safe under the LVD.

EN 62368-1 also applies to components and sub-assemblies. Parts previously compliant to the older safety standards can still be used so long as their use is considered to the new standard and that the safety is not compromised.

As the transition date is less than 10 months away, this is short in terms of product development time, and if you are currently a user of either of the two previous standards then you should be working towards the new standard now.

The standard considers the protection of three kinds of person with each at a suitable level taking their skill and knowledge into account. The safeguards vary but all give a suitable protection level.

Ordinary person, Instructed person and a Skilled person.

Hazards are considered in six individual categories:

a) Electrical Hazards
b) Power Source Hazards
c) Mechanical Hazards
d) Hazardous substances
e) Thermal Hazards
f) Radiation Hazards

The energy sources are then classified into three categories:

a) Class 1 Not painful but may be detectable
b) Class 2 Painful but not resulting in an injury
c) Class 3 Most likely to cause an injury

The steps to compliance with EN 62368-1 are:

a) Identify the energy sources present in the equipment
b) Determine if the source is of a level to be considered hazardous
c) Classify each source according with its potential for injury or fire
d) Identify the path of energy transfer to a user for each source
e) Determine the suitable safeguards for protection against each hazard

Then ensure that all the safeguards are effective and give the required degree of protection.

Conformance can help you with this transition with advice, support and training. Contact us for more information and we will be pleased to help.

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