QUERY: Conformity European (CE) Certification issues

Subject: QUERY: Conformity European (CE) Certification issues
From: "Peter Ring, PRC" <prc -at- PIP -dot- DKNET -dot- DK>
Date: Sat, 24 Aug 1996 11:36:34 +1

On 23 August 1996, Joseph <jwcarp -at- swcp -dot- com> through Shelley Strong
<sstrong -at- TECHREPS -dot- COM> wrote as follow:

>Perhaps you can offer some advice on a problem. I started this week
>on a new tech writing job for The Bell Group, a manufacturing
>company. The problem is that they want their machine and
>documentation to be Conformity European (CE) Certified so they can be
>distributed in Europe. Are you familiar with CE certification, and
>if so, so you know of a ready reference type book or series of books
>that might help me identify the key issues so I can incorporate them
>into the text and design of the Operator's Handbook and eventually
>the Technician's Handbook? Also, have you ever seen a CD-ROM with
>warning symbols and labels in electronic format. I could spend
>months scanning and or redrawing the symbols, and I don't yet have a
>complete list at that.

>Perhaps some of the ISO 9000 materials that STC has been so involved
>in might be of help? Even if you could point me in the right
>direction, it would be a big help. They of course want all of this
>done by October 15, and I just started Monday. Sound familiar?

>If you can help, please respond to Joseph (not a list member) at
><jwcarp -at- swcp -dot- com>.

There are 2 issues to be taken hand of: The product, and the

The product must comply to the EU (European Union) rules, i.e. the
directives related to the particular product. If it is a machine for
professional use, it must (at least) comply to the machinery
directive. If it may transmit just a little electrical noise, or may
be sensitive to electrical noise, it must comply to the EMC (Electro
Magnetic Compatibility) directive. To make sure it does, it must be
certified by a suitable lab. When you are sure all demands are
fulfilled, the product may carry the CE mark, which is a demand if it
is to be sold within the EU.

Many of the EU directives - incl. the machinery directive - contains
a number of quite sensible rules related to the documentation. There
are no demand for using standardised icons (in fact there are very
little standardisation on icons outside Germany). These rules are
mainly related to three areas:

- you must give all safety related warnings and instructions needed
to use the product without harming persons, property or

- you must specify the pollution from the product, incl. sound and

- the user documentation must be in the local language. You should
also give them the manual in the original language, if this is an
EU language (incl. English). The only exception is if a manual is
used by the importers trained personel, only, (e.g. the service
manual) and they understand the language of the manual.

There are no officially demanded certification on the documentation,
but you can come into problems, if you don't fulfil the rules. A
number of companies and organisations in various EU countries, incl.
my company PRC, can check that the documentation fulfils the rules.
PRC does it always when translating manuals, but we can check manuals
in English, German, or Swedish without translations, too. The German
TUV and my company PRC can simoultaniously check if the manual is
user friendly and recommend (or make) the improvements, needed.

There are some books on this subject (I have one in Danish), but the
most needed written material is the EU directives, which are
obtainable from the EU's information services and/or bookshops
specialized in legal litterature.

Greetings from Denmark

Peter Ring
PRC (Peter Ring Consultants)
- specialists in user friendly manuals and audits on manuals.
prc -at- pip -dot- dknet -dot- dk
- the "User Friendly Manuals" website with links, bibliography, and
tips for technical writers.

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