Information for use
Consumers or users shall be provided with information to use products as intended.
Information about the risks inherent in a product is essential for safe use; especially where the risks are not immediately obvious. The information shall take normal use and (foreseeable) misuse during the product’s lifecycle into account. Adequate warnings and precautions against the risks shall be clearly communicated. Such warnings are a last resort and only intended for products that cannot be designed any safer and have unavoidable, remaining risks.
The obligation does not apply to very simple products that can be used safely and as intended by the manufacturer without such instructions and safety information.
The instructions and safety information shall be clear and in the local language which can be easily understood by consumers. This is a shared obligation for manufacturers, importers, distributors, webshops and retailers.
EN IEC/IEEE 82079-1
This is the international standard available with principles for creating clear information for use.
The standard provides guidance on information or instructions to help users understand how to safely and effectively assemble, operate, maintain, troubleshoot, repair and dispose of the product.
The information for use is considered an integral, inseparable part of the product; therefore, it should receive high attention and priority just like any other part of the product.
Although EN IEC/IEEE 82079-1 is best known for machinery and electrical products, it can be applied to a very wide range of products. The standard applies, but is not limited to, the following products:
• Consumer electronics, household appliances and wireless devices;
• Office software and online applications;
• Self-assembly furniture;
• Machinery, attachments and parts;
• Chemical mixtures;
• Medical equipment, and systems;
• Vehicles, motorcycles, trains and boats;
• Technical services.
It is a recurring question: “Is a digital version of a manual is sufficient?”. The information is then always available and it saves trees. Safety information still needs to be provided on paper, but the remaining instructions may also be provided in digital format or via a website. However, a paper version should always be available free of charge for the consumers who request it. The manufacturer must take account of the use and users when deciding the format for the instructions and safety information. The accessibility of digital information for use should be clearly indicated on the product itself. It should be available in a printable or downloadable format, allowing users to review it both online and offline. The digital information should remain accessible throughout the entire lifespan of the product and for a minimum of 10 years after it was sold.
There is a clear trend to move towards digital information, the new Machinery Regulation provides insight into the latest state of play.
An extra pair of eyes
It is good practice to have the drafted instruction reviewed by the target group or an independent ‘outsider’.
Feel free to contact our Label Check experts for an assessment of your manual against EN IEC/IEEE 82079-1 today!