The Atex use of an ‘attestation of conformity’ to affirm compliance of equipment used in the hazardous area has been carried over to the UK regulation. The UK Declaration of Conformity is a contract between the manufacturer and the customer under UK law stating compliance to all relevant UK requirements and is based on the EU Declaration of Conformity which would be required for equipment being supplied to the EU.
The UK Doc is a contract between the manufacturer and the customer under UK law stating compliance to all the relevant UK regulations. It is a mandatory requirement as part of the UKCA marking, should be supplied with every Hazardous area certified product1 and affirms the declaration signee and company have taken full responsibility for compliance, without it responsibility to prove compliance rests with the site.
As with Atex Type certificate, the UK Type Certificate has little if any legal standing as far as the end user/site is concerned and only used to support the UK DoC.
As shown here it is not uncommon to produce the UK declaration of conformity specifically for the hazardous area requirements as a special case in addition to the standard UK declaration of conformity which would cover other relevant regulations such as EMC, Safety etc.
Similar to the EU Doc the UK DoC should include
Signed for and on behalf of:, (place and date of issue): , (name, function) (signature)
Other optional information could be included such as type certificate numbers or excerpts from it but these are not mandatory and it must be noted that the signee is personally responsible, along with the company directors, for the compliance.
The EU declaration of Conformity must be supported with a technical file with details of justification e.g. Type Certificates, drawings, power calculations etc. but this file would not normally be supplied to any client.
Under Atex a Notified Body Type certificates cannot be issued for Category 3 equipment and it is assumed under the UKCA marking a similar status will mean certifying marking is not mandatory and if a EU DoC reference number is used for the technical file then a type certificate number may not even be used.
The Type certificate is for the Manufacturers evidence of testing by the an approved Certifying Body.their contractual (legal) obligation is to supply the UK DoC.
For Category 3 equipment the Type Certificate can be irrelevant assuming as all necessary certificaion information is supplied e.g. in the operating instructions/manual.
As this document is a legal entity enforceable under UK law, for companies not having a registered trading address the UK Declaration of Conformity (contract) is difficult to enforce as the manufacturer is not directly subject to UK laws.
In this case the company is first in line to legal responsibility for compliance is either the manufacturers authorised agent within the UK or the importer although they may not have control over the certification. UK rules are clear the company placing the product on the UK market is responsible to ensure compliance.
Not specifically mandated, although implied, the end user should expect to have the manufacturers authorised agent or importer detailed on the UK declaration of conformity to ensure that in the event of non-compliance of the product that it is easily actioned within the UK law.
If the manufacturer is outside the UK and there is no UK based Authorised Agent in the event of an issue the end user would become the first in the litigation firing line as the manufacturer is not directly subject to UK law.
The potential problems are highlighted in the following scenario:
Non Compliance of product
Heavy fines can be imposed for non-compliance within the Hazardous Area or worse a serious incident could occur linked to a potentially non-compliant product.
Assuming the product is installed correctly with the scope of its certification then the UK DoC puts liability firmly back to the manufacturer.
If the manufacturer is outside the UK e.g. China then the regulatory bodies (or you) may be reluctant to prosecute under Chinese law. On the basis that everybody in the supply chain is potentially liable the end user and importer would have responsibility. However, should the manufacturer have an authorised representative (within the UK) then they would be first in the firing line.
For their own protection, it is recommended that end users look closely at any hazardous area equipment from a manufacturer outside the UK which does not have a legal address i.e. authorised representative within the UK. This similarly applies to UK companies supplying into the EU. However, subject to the trading agreement with the EU and acceptance by the UK authorities an end user it is possible the EU DoC may be accepted as a 'reasonable' evidence of compliance certainly up to the end of 2021.
Most of the information is the same as the EU Declaration of Conformity but it is still unclear what or how it will be declared to as the Atex Directive is no longer valid in the UK.
The examples above are of what might be used, being the same as the EU DoC with Atex specific information taken out.
Not being a UK contracts lawyer, having solid documented guidance or reviewing a 'real' version this currently is a guess at possible content.
If manufacturer has produced a UK DoC for hazardous areas, we would be pleased to review it or possible use it as an example.
The UK Declaration of Conformity is often included in the product or installation manual. ↩