A frequently asked question (FAQ) is just that and on this page we have tried to provide answers, based on the most up to date information we have at the time of writing, to some of the most frequently asked RoHS questions that we receive.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here you can always contact us via the enquiries page.
Please choose from one of the following FAQ categories:
Do I need to comply with RoHS?
If you are a manufacturer, authorised representative, importer or distributor (referred to as economic operators) and you place or make available a product on the market that falls within the scope of the RoHS Directive then you will need to comply with RoHS.
How do I comply with RoHS?
The obligations for economic operators are laid out in Articles 7 – 10 of the RoHS Directive. As an economic operator it is your responsibility to ensure that you understand the obligations in order to achieve compliance.
When do I need to comply with the RoHS Directive?
The recast RoHS Directive was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 1 July 2011 and entered into force on 21 July 2011. Member states must transpose the directive into national law by 2 January 2013.
Has the scope of the RoHS Directive been affected by the recast?
Yes. The following categories, previously excluded from the RoHS Directive, are now within scope of the recast Directive.
- Category 8 'Medical Devices'
- Category 9 'Monitoring and Control Instruments Including Industrial Monitoring and Control Instruments'
- Category 11 'Other EEE not covered by any of the Categories Above'
The increase in scope of the Directive will apply via a tiered implementation timetable over the next 8 years as follows:
The recast directive will be implemented in stages as follows:
Medical devices - 22 July 2014
Monitoring and control - 22 July 2014
In vitro diagnostic medical devices - 22 July 2016
Industrial monitoring and control instruments - 22 July 2017
Category 11 - 22 July 2019
Does the recast RoHS Directive ban or limit the use of any new substances?
No, however, Article 6 states that “a review, based on a thorough assessment, and amendment of the list of restricted substances in Annex II shall be considered by the Commission before 22 July 2014, and periodically thereafter on its own initiative or following the submission of a proposal by a member state.”
What is EN:50581?
In the UK legislation under RoHS1 there was a requirement for information to show compliance, RoHS2 requires a Technical File. The content and requirements of the Technical File are described in EC/768/2008. EN 50581:2012 is a Harmonised Standard for the assembling of a technical file for directives such as RoHS2. There is no requirement to follow a Harmonised Standard, the requirement is to meet the essential requirements within the directive. The Harmonised Standard is a route map, approved by the Commission, which, if fully applied, the Market Surveillance Authorities should accept your Technical File is sufficient. If you decide not to follow the Standard route then it should be possible for the market Surveillance Authority to see a level of equivalence between your approach and the standard approach.
Technical files do not need to be physical. They may be in an electronic form and may be distributed and may even exist as databases, electronic documents and files. However there is a requirement that the technical file is accessible on request.
There is no requirement for a technical file to be translated into different languages by default. However, there is a requirement for the contents of the Technical File to be understandable by the Market Surveillance Authority. Therefore, if test reports are produced in a foreign language such as Chinese then the burden of translation of those reports or other documents into a language required by the Market Surveillance Authority would be the responsibility of the regulated entity. This also includes, where parts of the Technical File may be in databases or more complex forms providing it in a form that is readily understandable by the Market Surveillance Authority. This may include providing reading notes or support to help the inspector interpret your internal documentation.
How do I apply for an exemption?
The process for applying for an exemption is outlined under Article 5(3) which states that “An application for granting, renewing or revoking an exemption shall be made to the Commission in accordance with Annex V.”
More detail is provided under the Commission FAQ document.
Cables, plug adaptors and antennas…
Cables, plug adaptors and antennas included within electrical and electronic equipment and sold separately are considered to be within scope under the definition of electronic and electrical equipment in Article 3 of the Directive.
Components may well not be directly covered by the RoHS Regulations, as essentially they will not be not classed as finished Electrical or Electronic Equipment (EEE), therefore outside of the scope of the Regulations.
However manufactures of finished EEE must only produce RoHS compliant products, meaning the manufacturer will need to ensure that all of the components used in the manufacturing of the finished EEE are RoHS compliant.
Manufactures are also obligated to evidence that the finished EEE is RoHS compliant. Manufactures should ask their component suppliers to provide documented evidence of RoHS compliance as part of their due diligence processes.
Large Scale Fixed installations…
A large-scale fixed installation is defined as "a large scale combination of several types of apparatus and, where applicable, other devices, which are assembled and installed by professionals, intended to be used permanently in a pre-defined and dedicated location and de-installed by professionals."
Large scale industrial tools…
A Large scale stationary industrial tool is defined as "a large scale assembly of machines, equipment, and/or components, functioning together for a specific application, permanently installed and de-installed by professionals at a given place, and used and maintained by professionals in an industrial manufacturing facility or research and development facility."
Large scale stationary industrial tools are specifically exempt under Article 2 of the Directive.
Although most military equipment is out of scope of the Directive (providing the equipment is designed specifically for the purposes described in the Directive), equipment such as radios which are supplied to the military, but also to civilians, would be considered to be within scope as they have not been designed and made available exclusively for military use.
Paper, packaging and labels...
Any packaging that is discarded after purchase of the product is not considered to be part of the electrical and electronic equipment and therefore is not considered to be within scope. Packaging that forms part of, may remain with or may be disposed of with the product, will be considered on a case by case basis. Labels which are integrated as part of the final product are considered to be within scope.
The RoHS Directive does not apply to "means of transport for persons or goods, excluding electric two-wheel vehicles which are not type approved."
Why have I received a letter requesting information?
As the market surveillance authority responsible for enforcing the RoHS Regulations within the UK, the NMO carry out regular market surveillance projects to ensure compliance and offer support to businesses who are trying to comply with the Regulations.
If you have received a letter from us, on behalf of the Secretary of State, requesting information about your company, this is because we have identified you as a responsible company who may import, rebrand or manufacture electronic and electrical equipment.
This information must be provided within the timeframe as specified by us and we ask you to follow the instructions in the letter, answering the request to the best of your ability. This will include accessing a secure ‘https’ website.
If at a later date we need further information, we will contact you.
What is placing on the market?
The term placing on the market is the initial action of making a product available for the first time on the Community market, with a view to distribution or use in the Community. This is considered to take place when a product is transferred from the stage of manufacture with the intention of distribution or use on the Community market and applies to each individual product, and not a type, series or line of product.
Can I export non-compliant goods to countries outside of the EU?
The Directive does not apply to exported products placed on markets outside of the EU, only to products imported from outside of the EU to the EU market.
Are prototypes used at exhibitions and trade fairs considered to be placed on the market?
A product is not considered to be placed on the market when it is displayed at trade fairs, exhibitions or demonstrations. However, it must be clearly marked as such in order to be considered as not being placed on the market and must not be put into use. As such, any non-compliant product is for display purposes only. Prototypes for experimentation may be used providing they are not made available on the EU market.
Are ‘own use’ products considered to be placed on the market?
Products imported for own use are considered placed on the market, even when imported from another branch of the same organisation outside the EU and therefore must comply. However, products built for own use are generally not considered as being placed on the market and therefore do not have to comply.
Are products stored in warehouses considered to be placed on the market?
Placing on the market is considered not to take place where a product is in the stocks of the manufacturer. However, imports of finished products that have cleared customs and are being held by the producer without any further process required are considered to have been placed on the market.