An introduction to the different standards and requirements that may apply to your products and services - and how you can fulfil these.
Goods or services that you sell must meet different requirements, both those that are written down in regulations and those that customers set. They can apply to function, safety and labeling. Standards help you meet these requirements.
A standard is a collection of rules and guidelines produced jointly by private companies, organisations and public authorities. Standards help you to avoid pitfalls, establish good order and set levels of requirements for products and services.
Standards are found in all areas, for example, industry, IT, health care and environment. Most standards are European or international.
Swedish standardisation bodies and industry organisations
The following are some examples of standardisation bodies and industry organisations that work on producing Swedish, European and international standards:
Certification, inspection and testing
If you need to prove that the requirements of a standard or technical regulation are met, you can have an independent accredited organization certify, inspect or test your product, service or process.
- Certification ensures that what you sell meets relevant requirements. Sometimes you can decide for yourself whether to certify your goods or services. But it can also be mandatory according to laws and regulations or the agreement you have made with the customer.
- Controls are about regularly inspecting a product when it is used to make sure it meets specific requirements.
- Testing usually concerns certain properties of the product, such as the strength of toys, the risk of fire for clothing, or the risk of squeezing and cutting for folding chairs.
Find out what applies to your product or service
Your industry organisation can give you information about standards and the position regarding certification, control and testing in your industry.
Accredited organisations are approved to do the job
When you need to certify, control or test your product or service, you can turn to organisations that are accredited by Swedac. Accreditation means that they are competence-audited, impartial and have quality-assured working methods for performing analysis, calibration, certification, control, and testing.
Product safety and CE marking
A marking means that the manufacturer guarantees that a product or service meets special requirements. The marking may be mandatory, such as the CE marking for certain products to be sold on the EU internal market, but there are also voluntary markings.
You are responsible as a manufacturer, importer, or distributor
If your product is not covered by specific rules, the general product safety rules apply. You must also follow product liability rules and report dangerous products that you have sold on the market.
If you import or distribute imported goods to the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, you are responsible for ensuring that the products meet the EU's requirements for product safety and CE marking.
You as a manufacturer, importer or distributor can become financially liable if a product is not as safe as it should be and causes damage.
Market control of product safety
Some authorities may carry out inspections and ban products that do not meet the relevant requirements. The Swedish Customs also cooperates with the market control authorities to stop dangerous goods at the border.
Obligation to provide information for chemicals
It is your own responsibility to know what your products contain, and in some cases to inform customers about it. If your product contains certain chemicals, you must also report it to the EU Register of Chemicals Products.
Requirements for exports to countries outside the EU
When you export to countries outside the EU, there may be specific product safety rules. Even if your product follows an international standard, there may be national rules that deviate from it. You should contact the authorities in the country in question, and Business Sweden can also help you find which rules that apply. You can certify the products in Sweden so that they meet the safety rules for countries that are party to different agreements.
CE marking: mandatory for some products, but prohibited for others
Your product may only be CE marked if the product is on the European Commission's list of what must be CE marked. Toys and personal protective equipment are examples of things that must be CE-marked, while, for example, prams, pacifiers and children's articles may not be CE-marked.
Products that may not be CE marked must still meet national product requirements that applies to goods and services sold to consumers.
The basic rule is that only the manufacturer can CE mark products. However, if you import a product that is not CE marked, even though it must be, you can CE mark it if you are considered a manufacturer. You will find information on the criteria that the various economic actors must meet in the Blue Guide.
Other mandatory and optional labels
In addition to the CE marking, there are other mandatory and optional markings with which you can certify your goods or services.