Verification and a full understanding of CE certification is vital when it comes to providing a comprehensive and documented response to your health and safety risk assessment. The CE certificate, issued by an independent Notified Body to confirm a product is CE certified, is important and well known. Yet just as critical – but less well known or understood – is the Declaration of Conformity.
What is a Declaration of Conformity?
The Declaration of Conformity is an important document. It supports CE certification and constitutes an increased level of assurance for purchasers and wearers. Because CE certification is comprised of independent testing and assessment to confirm a product meets an established minimum performance standard, the “D of C” details the standards, and therefore the types of application and protection, covered by the certification.
It is based upon the CE certificate and can only be completed and published by the manufacturer after the certificate is issued by the Notified Body. It is the final and a crucial stage of the certification process.
The EU PPE Directive (Directive 89/686/EEC, the governing document outlining the essential requirements for all PPE) required that a Declaration of Conformity should be available to every user on request. However, the EU Regulation that replaced that Directive in 2016 (EU Regulation 425_2016) introduced a legal requirement that a copy should be supplied to the user with each unit of the product sold.
So, the Declaration of Conformity is a vital document for distributors and users looking for legal confirmation that an item of PPE is fully and legally certified (and it is worth bearing in mind that the new regulation also increased the responsibilities for distributors and users to ensure that the PPE they buy and use is properly certified.)
What Information is in a Declaration of Conformity?
Below you can see the main parts of our Declaration of Conformity for the MicroMax NS range of clothing for Type 5 & 6 disposable protection against light liquid splashes & sprays and hazardous dusts.
Some things to keep in mind:
- The CE certificate’s reference number is shown alongside a list of all the product codes included on that certificate. Any other product configurations should have a distinct code listed on the D of C. It is not sufficient to simply show a general “umbrella” brand.
- The name and EU identification number of the Notified Body that has conducted the product assessment and issued the certificate is shown.
- The name and EU identification number of the Notified Body that audits the quality assurance of the manufacturing facility where the product is made is also included. This can be different than the body certifying the product. Additionally, the certificate details the method of quality audit – in this case, “Module D” – which means the Notified Body conducts an annual QA audit of the factory.
- The Notified Body details are present to enable users to contact them for verification if there are doubts about the veracity of the products’ certification.
- Included is a list of the specific standards to which the products are certified. If the standard you are looking for is not listed, then the product is not certified to that standard, regardless of what any other marketing material might claim.
- The document is signed and dated by an authorized representative of the manufacturing company.
What is a Notified Body?
A Notified Body is an organization authorized by EU member governments to assess PPE products according to the relevant product standards, and to issue CE certificates for those products provided minimum defined performance requirements are met.
Each Notified Body is identified by a unique four digit code number. This allows easy identification on the EU Europa “NANDO” web site, where full contact details, along with a list of the types of PPE they are authorized to certify is shown.
Where Can You Access Declarations of Conformity for Lakeland CE Chemical Suits?
With the introduction of the requirement to provide access to the D of C with all units of product sold in the 2016 Regulation, Lakeland paved the way for easy accessibility.
Supplying a printed copy with every garment would be costly and would not help efforts to protect the environment, so, even before the new regulation came into force, all Lakeland D of C’s (and CE Certificates) were available for download from the the Lakeland European website.
To make access easier, a QR code has been added to all the product chest labels. This code links directly to an online PDF with a list of links to the Declarations of Conformity for all Lakeland CE certified product.
This makes access to the D of C very easy for users and supervisors. A quick scan with a smartphone will lead directly to the information you need to confirm certification and the correct standards.
You can link directly to our pdf listing all the Declarations of Conformity here.
There is also a linked translation guide for the D of C’s, including 20 European and Asian languages.
Additional Assurance for Your Health and Safety Plan
CE certification is about assurance. It brings the confidence derived from having the proof that the PPE you are buying and using has been independently confirmed to at least meet minimum performance requirements set down in product standards. Standards agreed on by industry experts over several decades.
The Declaration of Conformity adds an additional layer to that assurance. It is the manufacturer’s legally binding declaration that their product is fully and properly certified. That it will do the job of protection that it should.
It constitutes the only independent proof you have that your PPE will protect. Without it, you have little more than a hope that PPE will do the job it should. And remember, chemical suits, and other types of industrial PPE, are regularly used to protect against hazards that can result in serious damage to health, or even death.
And I think you would agree, when the stakes are that high, a hope of protection is not enough. You need certainty.