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In July 2017, new guidance for the application of the European Union’s (EU) Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was published. This resulted in electrically actuated motorized domestic furniture being identified as coming under the scope of the Directive, meaning electrical furniture must now carry the CE mark to access European markets.

The EU Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was passed by the European Parliament and Council in 2006. It has been amended several times, most recently in 2017, and essentially describes the health and safety requirements that must be applied to all machinery offered onto the EU market.

Most of the countries has recognized the 2017 guideline, but please note that the application for some countries is still unclear.

It defines machinery as:

  • An assembly of linked parts or components, at least one of which moves, with the appropriate actuators, controls and power circuits etc. joined together for a specific application
  • An assembly of machines which, to achieve the same end, are arranged and controlled so that they function as an integral whole

Compliance with the Machinery Directive requires the manufacturer to prepare a Technical Construction File (TCF) according to ANNEX VII of 2006/42/EC. This includes:

  • Construction file:
    • A general description of the machinery
    • The overall drawing of the machinery and drawings of the control circuits, as well as the pertinent descriptions and explanations necessary for understanding the operation of the machinery
    • Full detailed drawings, accompanied by any calculation notes, test results, certificates, etc., required to check the conformity of the machinery with the essential health and safety requirements
    • The documentation on risk assessment demonstrating the procedure followed the standards and other technical specifications used, indicating the essential health and safety requirements covered by these standards
    • Any technical report giving the results of the tests carried out either by the manufacturer or by a body
    • A copy of the instructions for the machinery
    • A copy of the EC declaration of conformity
  • For series manufacture, the internal measures that will be implemented to ensure that the machinery remains in conformity with the provisions of this Directive

Types of furniture that may come under the scope of the Machinery Directive, include:

  • Height adjustable desks/tables
  • Operated seating
  • Operated beds
  • Beds with TV lift systems
  • Air mattresses with pumps as part of the product package
  • Adjustable storage unit
  • Door/drawer
  • Massage chair

It does not cover furniture incorporating springs or gas springs (e.g. office chairs) because those mechanisms are powered manually, not electrically.

To access the European market, therefore, electrical furniture must now carry the CE mark. European Directives are the legal basis for CE marking. They are designed to promote and harmonize the requirements for free trade within the EU because a product with a CE Mark has free movement for the purposes of trade within all the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). The CE mark is a demonstration that the product has been assessed and satisfies the legal requirements to be sold within the EU.

The identification of electrical furniture as being under the scope of the Machinery Directive represents a major change for furniture manufacturers. Until now, they have normally only considered the scope of the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), which does not require CE marking. The new requirement for furniture to carry the CE mark only relates to electrical furniture and does not affect other furniture.

To self-certify for the CE mark, the usual process is:

  1. Identify the applicable directive
  2. Identify applicable standard
  3. Assess products against applicable directive requirements and test product to applicable standards
  4. Complete technical documentation relating to CE marking requirements for all applicable directives to support DoC
  5. Issue DoC and CE mark product

Stakeholders should also be aware that other directives requiring the CE mark may also apply to furniture with an electrical furniture, including:

  • Low Voltage Directive (LVD) – 2014 / 35 / EU: applies to all electrical products and equipment designed for use with a voltage rating of between 50V and 1000V for alternating current (AC) and between 75V and 1500V for direct current (DC) and whose hazards are primarily of an electrical nature
  • Electrical Compatibility (EMC) is the ability of a product to operate within normal conditions in its electromagnetic energy (emissions) and offer protection (immunity) against electromagnetic energy that occurs in the environment of its intended use
  • RoHS Directive – 2011/65/EU: restricts the levels of hazardous substances that can be used in the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment

SGS Furniture Testing

SGS can help manufacturers with every step of the CE marking process – from directive and standard identification to the review of technical documentation. Its global network of experts and laboratories have the capability to help manufacturers effectively and cost-efficiently deliver functional and compliant furniture to their target markets, wherever they are operating in the world.

Learn more about SGS Furniture Testing.

For more information, please contact:

Donna Gu
Operation Team & Product Certification team, Hardlines
SGS Shanghai
Tel: +86-21-61402666



About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.