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Understanding the transition to the UKCA standard (PPE)

What is the UKCA standard?
  • The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark is the product mark that is required for PPE placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Scotland & Wales). Similar to the CE mark, it is a manufacturer’s declaration that it meets applicable UK legislation.
  • It applies to PPE that previously required CE marking.

Why was it introduced?

  • Following the UK’s departure from the EU, the requirements for the manufacture and sale of PPE changed. The UKCA mark on products is a way of showing conformance with applicable UK legislation.

When does it come into force?

  • UKCA marking came into force on 1 January 2021, however, to allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements the Government published guidance on 24 August 2021 stating CE Marking was valid until 31 December 2022. After 31 December 2022, only products with UKCA marking would be accepted in Great Britain.
  • However, on 14th November 2022 the Government announced a 2-year extension to the transition period for UKCA marking, stating CE Marking was now valid until 31 December 2024. PPE conforming to EU rules, (including CE marking), may be placed on the market in Great Britain with no reference to the UKCA mark. See footnote 3 on this link.
Type of Product Accepted markings or combination of markings
  • Manufactured products being placed on the GB market until 11pm on 31st December 2024
  • UKCA or CE
  • Manufactured products placed on the  GB market from 11pm on 31st December 2024
  • UKCA

How does the UKCA standard affect PPE distributors?

 

  • PPE distributors based in the UK are now known legally as ‘importers’ if they supply products from an EEA country. (See section 7. obligations of importers on this link)
  • Importers have a responsibility to ensure that all PPE supplied carries CE marking (valid until 31st December 2024) or UKCA marking.
  • Importers must include information such as their registered trade name and postal address with any PPE from an EEA country. This information can be affixed to a document accompanying the PPE, such as the packaging, instead of having to mark the product itself.
  • To assist with the transition, the Government announced that it would apply a transition period for UKCA labelling, to allow UK importers to provide their details on accompanying documentation as an alternative to placing them on the equipment itself.
  • On 24 August 2021 the Government announced that the transition period for UKCA labelling would be extended to 31 December 2023. On 20 June 2022 the Government announced that the transition period for UKCA labelling would be extended until 31 December 2025. On 14 November 2022 the Government announced that the transition period for UKCA labelling would be further extended until 31 December 2027.
  • From 1st January 2028 the UKCA mark must be affixed to the PPE itself unless this is not practicable to do (for instance single use gloves and earplugs). In these cases, the UKCA mark must be affixed to the smallest commercially available packaging.

IMPORTANT UPDATE – 1st AUGUST 2023

In a significant development, the UK Government has announced an indefinite extension for the use and recognition of the CE mark on manufactured goods, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This development eases the transition from the CE mark to the UK’s equivalent UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark, which was to become mandatory from 2025 onwards.

This decision means that PPE distributors, now legally classified as ‘importers’, can continue supplying CE marked products beyond 2024, without needing to switch to the UKCA marking. However, they must still supply their trade names and postal addresses with all PPE imported from the European Economic Area.

This extension provides significant relief to manufacturers and importers, allowing them more time to adjust to the post-Brexit regulations. As the situation evolves, we will continue to keep you updated.

Government Guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-protective-equipment-enforcement-regulations-2018

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-protective-equipment-enforcement-regulations-2018/regulation-2016425-and-the-personal-protective-equipment-enforcement-regulations-2018-great-britain

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-announces-extension-of-ce-mark-recognition-for-businesses?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications-topic&utm_source=16bd8618-3575-44cc-b015-b8fa30cc34c5&utm_content=daily