Every now and then, we receive inquiries from our customers who are puzzled about what is going on with the harmonized standards. Standards that they apply to their products in individual cases are suddenly no longer listed and it is not clear which successor standard now applies.
Using two examples, we will go into the background and give a concrete recommendation for action if you are also facing this problem.
EN 50178 "Equipment of power installations with electronic apparatus".
This harmonized standard has not been withdrawn by CENELEC and is still available as DIN EN 50178:1998-04. The only question is whether EN 50178:1997-10 still gives presumption of conformity under the Low Voltage Directive. See the Implementing Decision (EU) 2020/1146 of 31 July 2020 the recital (13):
"The harmonized standard EN 50178:1997 has been revised by CEN and CENELEC. This led to the adoption of standard EN 62477-1:2012 and its amendment EN 62477-1:2012/A11:2014. By Commission Communication (2016/C 249/03)(5), the references of standard EN 62477-1:2012 and its amendment EN 62477- 1:2012/A11:2014 were published in the Official Journal of the European Union, C series, and the reference of standard EN 50178:1997 was included in the superseded standards column, but no provisional date of cessation of presumption of conformity was given. In this communication, the reference of EN 50178:1997 standard was also included in the column of published standards. The communication (2018/C 326/02) published both the references of the standard EN 62477-1:2012 and its amendment EN 62477-1:2012/A11:2014 and the standard EN 50178:1997, without indicating that the standard EN 50178:1997 was superseded. In view of the uncertainty regarding the deletion of the reference of standard EN 50178:1997 from the C series of the Official Journal of the European Union, it is necessary to include the reference of standard EN 50178:1997 in Annex II to Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1956, which lists the references of the harmonized standards established in support of Directive 2014/35/EU that have been withdrawn from the C series."
The inclusion in Annex II of this Decision means that the harmonized standards listed there will normally be withdrawn from the OJEU on a specific date and will therefore no longer give rise to a presumption of conformity. However, in line 64 of this decision,no entry was made in the "date of deletion" column for this standard. In this respect, it is unclear whether EN 50178 continues to trigger conformity or is considered to have been deleted since 3.8.2020.
Further research can be done on this in the Commission's informative lists published for the respective harmonization legislation. There, in the column "Date of withdrawal from OJ (end of presumption of conformity)", the following entry can be found:
"This harmonised standard continues to provide a presumption of conformity to the corresponding safety objectives of Directive 2014/35/EU until a withdrawal date is inserted in row 64 of Annex II to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/1956 (OJ L 306, 27.11.2019, p. 26), by means of a future Commission Implementing Decision."
Interestingly, however, this information is not officially found in the implementing decision, but only in these informative comprehensive lists, which are available as Excel or PDF files. For users, there could be some legal uncertainty as to whether this information is now to be considered legally binding. In this case, however, the author believes that it should have been published in the implementing decision.
EN 62493 "Assessment of lighting equipment with regard to the exposure of persons to electromagnetic fields".
EN 62493:2010 is currently still the version listed in the EU Official Journal for the Low Voltage Directive - at least if the overall informative list is correct.
According to that, this standard was still published in the OJ C 249 of 8.7.2016 and has disappeared in 2018. So it looks like a possible error in the 2018 OJ notice. There only further research in terms of contacting the Commission would help, what happens with this standard (accidentally deleted in the notice?) or what is the state of affairs.
According to the informative complete list, it still triggers a presumption of conformity, although this standard has already been withdrawn by CENELEC and replaced by EN 62493:2015. However, the successor standard is currently not published in the OJEU and therefore does not trigger a presumption of conformity! Why the successor standard has not yet been published in the Official Journal is also unclear or intransparent (not recognizable on the EU side). We assume that the HAS consultant had objections (probably formal reasons: Annex ZZ "Risk assessment" is missing, the biggest problem with harmonized standards to the Low Voltage Directive) - see also the CENELEC entry.
The relevant information portals of the European standards organizations (CEN; CENELEC and ETSI) and of the national standards organizations (DIN, DKE), as well as relevant standards databases, can initially be used to obtain information on the status of the standard. The national contact points can also be used to call the specific standards committees in order to obtain detailed information on the problems, if necessary.
In a second step, the relevant European Union websites should be used to determine the status in the context of the applicability of such standards under the relevant harmonization legislation. In essence, the question is whether a harmonized standard has actually been published in the EU Official Journal. There you will also find the contact addresses at the Commission, where you can turn with your questions.
Specifically, two terms must be clearly distinguished here (cf. Regulation (EC) 1025/2012, Article 2 No. 1):
- "European standard": a standard adopted by a European standardization organization;
- "harmonized standard": a European standard adopted on the basis of a mandate from the Commission for the implementation of Union harmonization legislation.
However, in order for an adopted harmonized standard (ratified by CEN, CENELEC or ETSI) to also give rise to a presumption of conformity, it is mandatory that it be published in the OJEU. And this is where the HAS consultant comes into play, who has to release this publication, so to speak.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions on this topic.