The low voltage directive (LVD) (2014/35/EU) ensures that electrical equipment within certain voltage limits provides a high level of protection for European citizens, and benefits fully from the single market. It has been applicable since 20 April 2016.
About the low voltage directive (LVD)
The low voltage directive (LVD) covers health and safety risks on electrical equipment operating with an input or output voltage of between
- 50 and 1000 V for alternating current
- 75 and 1500 V for direct current
It applies to a wide range of electrical equipment for both consumer and professional usage, such as
- household appliances
- power supply units
- laser equipment
- certain components, e.g. fuses
EU legislation in the electrical sector is important to ensure that health and safety requirements are the same across Europe for products placed on the market.
The general product safety directive (2001/95/EC) covers consumer goods with a voltage below 50 V for alternating current, or below 75 V for direct current. It aims to ensure that only safe consumer products are sold in the EU.
Implementation and guidance
National authorities are responsible for implementing and enforcing the LVD – this is because they transpose the provisions of EU directives into their own national legislation.
These guidelines on the LVD have no weight in law, but they explain various elements of the directive and its application. The Commission drafted the guidelines in collaboration with stakeholders such as national authorities, industry bodies and standardisation bodies.
Economic operators can discuss specific implementation issues with national implementation authorities.
The LVD is aligned with the new legislative framework policy and has replaced Directive 2006/95/EC, while keeping the same scope and safety objectives. Guidance on the LVD transition from 2006/95/EC to 2014/35/EU is available.
Further guidance is available from the LVD working party (LVD WP) and LVD administrative cooperation working group (ADCO).
Working party (LVD WP)
The working party (LVD WP) deals with general policy issues related to managing and implementing the LVD.
LVD WP is chaired by the Commission and involves groups such as
- authorities from EU countries
- industry stakeholders
Documents produced by LVD WP are not legally binding – rather, they are designed to clarify certain provisions or elements of the LVD.
- Obligation to put 2 digits of the year in the DoC (20 kB)
- New ADCO declaration on child-appealing appliances (29 kB)
- Socket outlet with switch (32 kB)
- Electric vehicles and related equipment (22 kB) - a legal framework for placing them on the market
- CE marking in cord sets (28 kB)
Administrative cooperation working group (LVD ADCO)
LVD ADCO is an independent working group run and chaired by EU countries. It provides a forum where national market surveillance authorities can cooperate and exchange information.
LVD ADCO produces documents such as recommendations and reports of cross-border market surveillance projects. These documents are not legally binding and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Commission or the LVD WP.
Market surveillance authorities can decide to apply the principles of LVD ADCO documents – but they must still comply with the LVD.
- Stationary and portable spas - safety information (108 kB) - latest version updated January 2016
- Recommendation: general issues (13 kB) – November 2010
- Recommendation: child-appealing household appliances (24 kB) – November 2008
- Recommendation: hot surfaces (71 kB) – 16 August 2010
- Recommendation: LED replacement tubes (96 kB) – 7 February 2011
- Recognising child-appealing household appliances (47 MB)
- Information sheet on fusing resistor applications (48 kB) – May 2014
- LED and compact fluorescent lamps project (205 kB) – October 2014
- Non-functional hot surfaces project (2 MB) – April 2014
- Pumps, electrical appliances - mobile swimming pools (37 kB)
- Luminaires: cross-border market surveillance – final report (557 kB), press release
- Portable luminaries for children and adults (1 MB)
- Electrical safety of cord extension sets (492 kB) – final report: market surveillance campaign 2007
Article 9 of the Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC enabled the European Commission to issue 'opinions'. An 'opinion' is not law, but can be used as guidance.
- Opinion: safety of cosmetic tanning devices – 27 October 2004
- Opinion: safey of cable reels – 8 December 2003
- Opinion: safety of toasters – 4 December 2002
- Opinion: portable child-appealing luminaires – 3 May 2002
- Opinion: luminaries – January 2001
- Opinion: toasters, grills, roasters and similar – 30 March 2000
Unlike LVD 2006/95/EC, under LVD 2014/35/EU only the references of the harmonised standards published in the OJEU give presumption of conformity with the safety objectives.
Current list of European harmonised standards under the LVD
- LVD standards
- Mandates database - search to find the text of mandates
- General mandate M/511 under Directive 2014/35/EU
The Commission adopted the staff working document evaluation of the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU. The purpose of this evaluation was to analyse the performance of the Low Voltage Directive in meeting its objectives of facilitating the free movement of electrical equipment across the Union and protecting consumers' and users' health and safety. The evaluation assessed the extent to which the directive is fit for purpose, hence continues to deliver effectively, efficiently and at minimum cost the intended benefits for consumers and business.
An independent study supported the evaluation of the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU by assessing its effectiveness, efficiency, coherence with other legislation, relevance and EU added value.
- Market surveillance authorities (260 kB)
- Implementation authorities (254 kB)
- European electrical industry associations (57 kB)
The new LVD does not require notified bodies to assess if products to be placed on the market comply with the applicable EU legislation. The manufacturer alone is responsible for determining this by carrying out conformity assessment procedures.