Standards


CE logo comparison
Do you know the difference?

Unfortunatly, you cannot always tell by looking. This creates some additional confusion, since one cannot assume that a badly-shaped "CE" mark indicates a fraudelent Chinese mark. According to Wikipedia,

In 2008, a logo very similar to CE marking was alleged to exist and to stand for China Export because some Chinese manufacturers apply it to their products. However, the European Commission says that this is a misconception. The matter was raised at the European Parliament in 2008. The Commission responded that it was unaware of the existence of any "Chinese Export" mark and that, in its view, the misunderstanding had arisen because a producer had failed to respect the precise dimensions and proportions of the mark as prescribed in the legislation. The Commission was also aware of fraudulent misuse of the mark on products that did not comply with the standards, but that this is a separate issue. It had initiated the procedure to register CE marking as a Community collective trademark, and was in discussion with Chinese authorities to ensure compliance with European legislation. Chinese (and other non-EU) manufacturers are permitted to use the CE mark provided that the goods have been manufactured in accordance with the relevant EU directives and regulations.

Nevertheless, and despite the Commission's assurance that it is without foundation, this urban myth continues to be available on many websites.

For example, I have some Czech devices that seem to have "China Export" marks rather than Conformité Européene marks. These Czech devices are numbered 1019. The legitimate Notified Body #1019 is VVUÚ, a.s. in the Czech Republic, and they are also legislated for Regulation (EU) 2016/425 Personal protective equipment. In these cases, the CE mark is legitimate (see the VVUÚ, a.s. PPE List), but the printed mark is distorted. By extension, identical devices by the same manufacturer but sold under other brand names would also have legitimate CE approval.


In recent years, manufacturers are printing extensive reading material on their devices, and it isn't to relieve boredom. Much of the excessive writing refers to device certification to some standard. Most users probably don't have a clue what these cryptic standards really mean. If you guess that lawyers are involved, you may very well be right.

As I see it, there are two extreme types of users:

No intelligent person is quite at either of these extremes, but I think that recreational users are best served by views closer to the first bullet, and professionals are required by legal concerns to think closer to the second. These professionals might be surprised if they knew who prepared some of these standards.

I am a recreational user who is more concerned about how well a product performs in the field than I am about how well it tests in the lab; however, I agree that some testing is essential. As a registered professional engineer with more than four decades of experience, I understand the value of well-designed standards. As a vertical caver who started more than five decades ago, I have yet to be convinced that the existing standards are well-thought-out or that they address the most appropriate factors. My engineering mind sees the current standard situation as a contorted mess. Maybe I'm missing something and maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not impressed and so I tend to dismiss them. My comments should be viewed in that context.

Anyone who cares at all about certification ought to at least have an idea what the certification means, so I've prepared the following summary of some of the standards:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 160 “Protection against falls from height including working belts”

Comments:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 160 "Protection against falls from a height including working belts"

Comments:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 136, "Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment."

Comments:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 136 “Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment”

Comments:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 136, "Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment."

Comments:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 136, "Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment."

Comments:

Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 136, "Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment."

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Prepared by: Technical Committee CEN/TC 136, "Sports, playground and other recreational facilities and equipment."

Comments:


Some other marks you may see…

Eurasian Conformity mark (Russian: Евразийское соответствие), a certification mark to indicate products that conform to all technical regulations of the Eurasian Customs Union. For our purposes, the appropriate regulations are often those of TR CU 019/2011 "On safety of personal protective equipment."

Russian Conformity Mark. This mark was affixed to products subject to mandatory conformity assessment according to the Russian national standards (GOST R) or Russian technical regulations. Superceded by the Russian Market Circulation Mark in 2021.

Russian Market Circulation Mark. This mark is affixed to products subject to mandatory conformity assessment according to the Russian national standards (GOST R) or Russian technical regulations. Replaced the Russian Conformity Mark in 2021.

Ukrainian Conformity Mark. This mark is affixed to products that meet mandatory requirements of technical regulations for which the legislative acts of Ukraine established mandatory declaration.

ДСТУ Ukrainian acronym for Державний Стандарт України, meaning "State Standard of Ukraine"
 
ГОСТ Russian acronym for Государственный Стандарт, meaning "government standard."