The Low Voltage Directive

Scope of the low voltage directive

The low voltage directive ensures that electrical equipment within certain voltage limits provides a high level of protection for European citizens and enjoys a single market in the European Union. The directive covers electrical equipment with a voltage between 50 and 1000 V(AC) and between 75 and 1500 V(DC). These voltage ratings refer to the voltage of the electrical input or output, not to voltages that may appear inside the equipment. For most electrical equipment, the health aspects of emissions of electromagnetic fields are also under the domain of the Low Voltage Directive.

The directive covers all health and safety risks for all equipment within its scope, ensuring that electrical equipment will be used safely and in applications for which it was made. Guidelines on application and recommendations are available – including LVD Administrative Co-operation Working Group (LVD ADCO) documents and recommendations – as well as European Commission opinions within framework of the directive.

The Low Voltage Directive is one of the oldest single market directives adopted before the “New” or “Global” approach. The directive relates to electrical equipment designed for use within certain voltage limits. The Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC of the European Parliament and the EU Council on the harmonisation of the laws of member states came into effect on 16 January 2007. Its predecessor, directive 73/23/EEC, was repealed on the same date. 2006/95/EC has been replaced by 2014/35/EU per 20 April 2016.

Safety objectives of the Low Voltage Directive

Electrical equipment may be placed on the market if it complies with the safety objectives laid down in Annex I of this directive concerning:

  • General safety conditions applying to equipment;
  • Hazards arising from electrical equipment;
  • Hazards caused by external influences on electrical equipment.

The free movement of electrical equipment must not be hindered if it meets the safety objectives defined in the directive. Manufacturers may choose how they comply with safety objectives.

Placing on the market

Before placing electrical equipment on the European market:

  • The manufacturer or his authorized representative established in the European Union must affix the CE marking to each product and draw up a written EU declaration of conformity;
  • The manufacturer must establish the technical documentation.

This EU declaration of conformity (DoC) must be kept in a technical file for 10 years after the product has been placed on the market. If you create your technical file with ProductIP, we take care of the 10 years availability of your technical file.