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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Pressure equipment and gas appliances

The industrial sectors of pressure equipment and gas appliances are important in terms of EU growth and jobs. Both are also important from the point of view of EU regulation for safety and other standards.

Prospects for the industry remain good but largely depend on the overall economic growth and the level of local investment.

Pressure equipment sector

The industrial sector of pressure equipment concerns a wide range of products, from consumer products like fire extinguishers and pressure cookers to huge and complex industrial installations or boilers in power plants.

Simple pressure vessels and aerosol dispensers are also covered in this sector.

Gas appliances sector

The Gas appliances sector concerns a wide range of products, concerning mainly common consumer and commercial appliances that burn gaseous fuels.

These are used for cooking, heating, hot water production, refrigeration, lighting and washing, forced draught burners and heating bodies. It also includes related safety, controlling or regulating devices.

The Gas Appliances industry contributes significantly to the performance of the EU economy.

Challenges faced by the sectors

There is a strong demand amongst pressure equipment and gas appliances stakeholders for reinforced market surveillance to protect business against unfair competition. The responsibility for market surveillance lies with EU countries and activity has been very uneven. Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 on accreditation and market surveillance is a first step towards enhancing activities and improving cooperation between national authorities.

Moreover, the pressure equipment and gas appliances manufacturing industry emphasises the need for a stable, predictable, coherent and simpler/smarter regulatory environment.

What the Commission is doing

The European Commission promotes the global and sustainable competitiveness of the sectors within the Pressure Equipment and Gas Industries by assessing the challenges and taking necessary actions.

The Commission also coordinates and monitors the implementation and interpretation of a number of important Directives related to pressure equipment and gas appliances. It also oversees standardisation for these sectors.

Unregulated certificates warning

Unregulated certificates, which are often called ‘voluntary certificates’ besides other names, are often issued for some products covered by EU harmonisation legislation by certification bodies not acting in their capacity as notified bodies under EU law. These practices are misleading since only notified bodies may issue certificates of compliance for harmonised products and only in the area for which they are notified. For example, if a body is notified to issue certificates for machinery, it should not issue certificates (voluntary or other) for non-machinery products (such as personal protective equipment – masks).

Please note that, under EU law, voluntary or other additional certificates are not a recognised means to prove compliance. Consequently, they have no value in the case of checks by market surveillance authorities or customs. However, an exception arises in instances where voluntary certification is outlined in specific legislation. In such cases, while the certificate is not obligatory, it must adhere to explicit requirements if chosen to be acquired.

Voluntary certificates can create the impression that the product conforms with applicable EU harmonisation legislation, although such certificates are not issued by an authorised body.

Voluntary certificates must not be confused with third-party conformity assessment certification by notified bodies within the area for of competence for which they are notified, due to the use of terms such as ‘certification’ or ‘independent third party’ or the presence of the CE marking on the certificate.

CE marking can only be affixed after testing the product and performing the conformity assessment procedure prescribed by the applicable EU harmonisation legislation. It is not acceptable for voluntary certificates to bear a CE marking.