Sale of Goods Act 1979

The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016

Second-hand electricals - The Charity Retail Association

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994

Second-hand electricals - The Charity Retail Association

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005

Product liability and safety law

Guidance on the Safety of Electrical Products

The relevant legislative requirements around the importation and distribution of electrical products within the United Kingdom are as follows:

1. Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016. (SI 2016 No. 1101)

All new electrical equipment that is intended for supply in the United Kingdom must now comply with the requirements of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 and as such must carry the CE marking.

The Regulations apply to all electrical equipment, subject to certain exemptions, that is designed or adapted for use between 50 and 1,000 volts (alternating current) or 75 and 1,500 volts (direct current). The Regulations cover domestic electrical equipment and equipment that is intended for use in the workplace.

All suppliers have a statutory duty to ensure that they supply only electrical equipment which satisfies the requirements of the Regulations.

All electrical equipment must be designed and manufactured in accordance with the principal elements of the safety objectives.


To access guidance now published by Regulatory Delivery go to Guidance (pdf 85 kb)

2. Plugs & Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994. (SI 1994 No. 1768)

The Plugs and Sockets (Safety) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994 No.1768) are applicable only to certain products contained in the exclusion "Plugs and sockets outlets for domestic use" from Schedule 2 of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. Therefore products containing components (other than a fuse link, switch or indicator light) are not considered as plugs and sockets but are considered to be electrical equipment and so covered by the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.

The Safety Requirements

Part I of the Regulations relates to any plug, socket or adaptor ordinarily intended for domestic use at a voltage of not less than 200 volts, to any fuse link suitable for a standard link and to any cartridge fuse link suitable for use in any plug or adaptor.

The terms plug. socket adaptor, fuse link, cartridge fuse link and standard plug are defined in Regulation 3. A standard plug is one intended to connect with a socket outlet with dimensions as specified in British Standard BS1363.

Regulation 6 requires a standard plug to contain a fuse complying with BS1362 and to have been approved by a notified body.

Part II applies to electrical appliances ordinarily intended for domestic use, designed to operate at a voltage of not less than 200 volts with a maximum rated input of no more than 13 amperes, and intended to be connected to a socket outlet made to the dimensions of BS1363.

Part III applies to all conversion plugs and standard plugs. They must be marked with or must bear a label legibly marked to indicate approval by a notified body and the identity of that body.         

3. The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016. (SI 2016 No. 1091)

The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016 apply to electrical and electronic equipment liable to cause electromagnetic disturbance or the performance of which is liable to be affected by such disturbance.

The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure that the electromagnetic disturbance generated by electrical or electronic equipment does not exceed a level above which radio and telecommunications equipment and other equipment cannot operate as intended, and that the equipment itself has an adequate level of immunity to electromagnetic disturbance.


To access guidance as now published by Regulatory Delivery go to Guidance (pdf 89 kb)

4. The Radio Equipment Regulations 2017. (SI 2017 No. 1206)

The Radio Equipment Regulations 2017 transpose Directive 2014/53/EU on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment. To see guidance published by BEIS on the regulations go to Guidance. (pdf 90 kb). 

5. The General Product Safety Regulations 2005. (SI 2005 No. 1803)

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 transpose Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety into UK law.

The purpose of the General Product Safety Directive is to ensure that all products intended for or likely to be used by consumers under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions are safe.

The Directive pursues its principal objective of ensuring consumer product safety by:

  • specifying that products placed on the market or supplied by producers and distributors must be safe;
  • defining a safe product;
  • imposing obligations on producers and distributors consistent with marketing safe products;
  • laying down a framework for assessing safety;
  • requiring enforcement authorities to be empowered to take the action necessary to protect consumers from unsafe products.   

General Product Safety Regulations 2005 - Guidance for businesses, consumers and enforcement authorities (pdf 525 kb)

Important Safety Update

By way of an important safety update to businesses in Newcastle, who are planning to becoming involved in the importation and distribution of electrical products including such devices for charging mobile phones and also replacement power supply cables for computers, the Trading Standards Service would like to highlight the following:

Concerns continue to be highlighted to the Service, with the  notification of the direct importation of certain electrical products, from outside the European Union; apparently without the appropriate level of compliance with the various legislative requirements and then the distribution/supply of such products to the final consumer, via the internet.

For further information on the national response to the issue of the safety of imported products go to our webpage Ports Safety 

House of Commons BEIS Committee Report 2018

On the 9 January 2018 the House of Commons BEIS Committee published a report on "The Safety of Electrical Goods in the UK". The summary of this report found that:

  • That reductions in funding for both local Trading Standards and National Trading Standards are inevitably having an impact. This, combined with the devolved and fragmented nature of the current system, is making it difficult for consumers to have confidence in consistent enforcement of required standards across the UK, 
  • The progress on improving the safety of electrical goods has been painfully slow, despite an widely-supported set of recommendations made by Lynn Faulds Wood's review. We recommend that the Government publish a full response by the end of February 2018, 
  • The limitations of the existing system to be exposed by the manufacturer Whirlpool's response to a defect in its tumble dryers. As a result of its slow response, there are still a million potentially dangerous appliances in people's homes. We call on Whirlpool to address this, by ensuring a resolution for customers with defective machines within two weeks of notification, 
  • There appears to be a significant risk associated with plastic-backed fridge freezers, based on the number of fires associated with them and on testing that demonstrates their flammability. We believe that manufacturers should act now to use safer materials in advance of regulatory changes and that these products should be properly marked so that they can be identified following a fire, 
  • In view of the fragmented nature of the existing system and the slow pace of change, we recommend that the Government should carry out an publish a cost benefit analysis of the options for reallocating and concentrating resources, both centrally and locally, with a view to combining into a single national product safety agency.     

Copies of the legislation mentioned on this page can be purchased from Her Majesty's Stationery Office or can be accessed at OPSI

This information has no legal force and is not an authoritative interpretation of the law, which is a matter for the Courts. It is intended to help suppliers of electrical equipment to understand in general terms, the main features of the legislation. The information is not a substitute for the legislation and you should refer to the text of the Regulations for a full statement of legal and obligations. Where appropriate, you should seek your own independent legal advice.


feel free to call 07967 16 16 16 for futher advice