Conformity with Safety and Product Standards


Safety and product standards are published by national or international standards bodies to provide guidance on meeting the requirements of national and international safety and environmental legislation for products, systems and test procedures. This Guidance Note, from the Institute of Refrigeration, is intended to offer some direction as to how conformity with the standards may be achieved.


In the United Kingdom the British Standards Institute is the National Standards Body which oversees the creation, publication and distribution of British, European and International standards. Although the UK has left the EU, BSI is still an active member of CEN and European standards are still adopted as British standards in the same way as before.

For the members of CEN, including BSI, there are two types of standard which apply to the safety of products and installations:

  1. Product standards define the safety requirements for a particular class of product. They are also sometimes called “vertical standards”.

  2. “Horizontal standards” are those which apply fundamental principles across a wide range of product types.

Within the EU, harmonised safety standards incorporate the applicable essential requirements of the relevant directives and it is a legal requirement to adopt those applicable requirements. The Pressure Equipment Directive lists essential safety requirements (ESR) whereas the Machinery Directive refers to essential health and safety requirements (EHSR). In this Guidance Note the term “essential requirements” (ER) is used when both of these directives are relevant.


If a European standard is harmonised with the relevant European Directives then conformity with the directives can be presumed by demonstrating that the requirements of the standard have been satisfied. This can apply to both vertical and horizontal standards. These standards will contain an Annex for each relevant directive that identifies the applicable ERs from that directive and cross-references the corresponding clauses within the standard. These Annexes are labelled ZA, ZB etc in horizontal standards and ZZA, ZZB etc in product standards, explains the document.

The Guidance Note is available here.

Institute of Refrigeration May 2021

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