Low Voltage Directive
The Low Voltage Directive forms part of the CE Marking system and covers certain low voltage products.
Directive 2006/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2006 on the harmonisation of the laws of Member States relating to electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits.
The Low Voltage Directive (LVD) concerns one aspect of CE Marking and is aimed at encouraging the free movement of dependable electrical goods within the Single Market. The provisions of the LVD have actually been in force for over thirty years but the updated Directive was introduced to streamline it with some of the other CE Marking Directives such as the Machinery Directive and General Product Safety Directive.
The basic aim of the Directive is to harmonise the laws each EU country for electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits. Its absolute objective is to reduce the level of accidents from electrical products to nil.
The criteria for electrical equipment that fall under the scope of the LVD are:
Alternate current: between 50 and 100 Volts
Direct Current: between 75 and 1500 Volts
Note these are voltages that are electrical input/output and NOT the voltage that may appear inside the product.
Things Not Covered By LVD
The following products are excluded as they are covered by other Directives:
- Eletrical 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
- Specialised 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.
Safety is high on the LVD agenda, in particular Article 2 states:
“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.”
The safety objectives are listed in Annex 1, the general provisions are:
(a) The essential characteristics, such as intended use, shall be marked on
the equipment, or, if this is not possible, on an accompanying notice.
(b) The brand name or the 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 arising from the electrical equipment and any potential external influences. (see points 2 and 3 of Annex 1 for full details)
The LVD is already in force if a product falls under the criteria mentioned above it must comply with the LVD provisions in order to obtain the CE Mark.