Norms and Standards

Make it Fit: Norms and Standards

Safety Markings

Various general product safety markings have established a good reputation in the German and European markets. Though their use is voluntary, they provide a good source of information and orientation for consumers.

The GS product safety marking (geprüfte Sicherheit) used for a large number of goods has been available since 1977. It is available from a variety of independent testing and certification institutions for specific products and is reassessed (or expires) every 5 years.

Various types of VDE marking are used for a broad range of electrical products. They are awarded by the VDE Testing and Certification Institute, by order of Germany's Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies (VDE). The VDE also has a variety of partnership agreements with other certifying organizations abroad, i.e. in the USA, Canada, Russia and China. This means that VDE can assist with recognition of foreign electrical certifications in Germany and vice versa.

Also, the ENEC marking (European Norms Electrical Certification) used for a wide variety of electrical equipment is available in and valid throughout the European Union. Companies can apply for testing through an authorized independent body and can subsequently be awarded the ENEC marking for their products if they fulfill the criteria. Certification for ENEC marking is supervised by and available in Germany from both TÜV and VDE.

Since interference caused by electrical and electronic devises may interfere with the safe functioning of other such devices (as in airplanes and with medical equipment, for example), the European Union places specific requirements for electromagnetic conformity (EMC) on such items. Simply assembling CE-conform parts into a finished product does not necessarily mean, the product as a whole fulfills EMC requirements. Manufacturers of such goods, therefore, should make sure their products fulfill EMC ''harmonized standards.'' In order to certify their individual products as EM-conform, businesses can apply for a Mark of conformity to European Standards for EMC (EMC-Mark). The voluntary EMC Mark is awarded, upon successful completion of assessments by a variety of ''notified bodies,'' companies approved to certify products as EM-conform. Further information on individual EMC requirements, relevant EU regulations and notified bodies in your region is available from the EU Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry.

The most widely used and recognized certificate of quality for textiles in Germany and the EU is the Oeko-Tex Standard 100. This certificate provides a reliable, uniform standard for consumers who specifically aim to reduce their exposure to harmful substances in textiles. All raw materials, intermediate and end products at all stages of production are tested and certified for compliance with the standard. The certificate is valid for one year and the certified products are subject to periodic testing.

Additionally, the voluntary certification ''LGA-Schadstoffgeprüft'' issued by the German LGA (TUEV Rheinland LGA Beteiligungs GmbH) for a wide variety of indoor products, from desk chairs to children's mattresses and toner for printers. Manufacturers and products which carry this label have been successfully tested for especially low levels of emissions and harmful substances.

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