Quality Management and Safety Engineering (BSc) - MST 326
Product Liability.  CE marking.  Recreational Craft Directive (RCD).  Classification societies.

PowerPoint presentation: 179 KB

Product Liability

European Commission Product Liability Directive (85/374/EEC) was transposed into UK law in Part 1 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and applied to consumer products and products used at a place of work.  It imposed strict liability on producers for harm caused by defective products. This means that people who are injured by defective products can sue for compensation without having to prove the producer negligent, provided that they can prove that the product was defective and the defect in the product caused the injury.  The DTI produced a Guide to Consumer Protection Act 1987 which stated:

Before PLA: those affected had to prove that the damage had been caused by negligence on behalf of the manufacturer or distributor.
Now: the burden of proof is on the manufacturer to demonstrate product safety considerations were integrated into design and production.

In July 1999, the European Commission reviewed the Product Liability Directive by publishing a Green Paper on Liability for Defective Products.  An amendment (Directive 1999/34EC) was adopted in 1999 extending product liability for defective products to include primary agricultural products and games with effect from 4 December 2000. This means that all products are now covered.

Three types of defects can incur liability:

URLs for Product Liability (checked as live on 20 February 2007):

Safety factors

Specific product standards are published as:

Some examples relevant to this module from the BS catalogue include:

and from the ISO catalogue include:

In particular, BS-EN-ISO 12215 considers Small craft – Hull construction and scantlings, prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 188 Small craft.  Small craft are defined by ISO 8666 as a hull length up to 23 m.  BS EN ISO 12215 consists of ten parts most of which are available in the Plymouth Campus Library:

PartBS EN ISO 12215 - Small craft. Hull construction and scantlingsDate Status at 19-May-2022
1Materials. Thermosetting resins, glass-fibre reinforcement, reference laminate31-Oct-2018current
2Materials. Core materials for sandwich construction, embedded materials31-Oct-2018current
3Materials. Steel, aluminium alloys, wood, other materials31-Oct-2018current
4Workshop and manufacturing 31-Oct-2018current
5Design pressures for monohulls, design stresses, scantlings determination 31-Oct-2019 current
6Structural arrangements and details 31-Oct-2018current
7Determination of loads for multihulls and of their local scantlings using ISO 12215-5 30-Nov-2020 current
9Sailing craft appendages 31-Oct-2018 current, under review
10Rig loads and rig attachment in sailing craft30-Nov-2020 current

Parts 5/7 define design categories (sea and wind conditions for which a boat is assessed by this standard to be suitable) as follows:

 DESIGN CATEGORY Significant Wave Height (Part 5) Beaufort Wind Force
(Part 5)
Significant Wave Height
(Part 7)
Beaufort Wind Force
(Part 7)
 A (ocean) < 7 m ≤ 9 > 4 m > 8 (but not abnormal)
 B (offshore) < 4 m ≤ 8 < 4 m ≤ 8
 C (inshore) < 2 m ≤ 6 < 2 m ≤ 6
 D (sheltered waters) < 0.3m (occasional 0.5 m) ≤ 4 ≤ 0.3m (occasional 0.5 m) ≤ 4

Part 6 outlines the design requirements for various components of the vessel and has the following definitions:

For consideration of safety factors, BS 4994:1987 Design and construction of vessels and tanks in reinforced plastics may be appropriate to lightweight air-tanks for diving.  Section 9 defines allowable and design unit loadings with five safety factors:

The design factor = 3 x k1 x k2 x k3 x k4 x k5 (the factor 3 is constant and allows for materials strength reduction due to long-term loading, even in air).  The Standard requires that no vessel or tank shall have K < 8.  Using the limiting (minimum and maximum values for each factor we get the values in the table below:

  minimum maximum
k1 1.5 3.0
k2 1.2 2.0
k3 1.0 1.25
k4 1.1 2.0
k5 1.1 1.5
K 6.534 defaults to 8 67.5

Some references for the design of marine structures in composite materials can be found on the MATS324 website.

CE marking

CE marking was initially the official marking required by the European Community for all Electric- and Electronic equipment sold, or put into service for the first time, anywhere in the European community.  It proves to the buyer, or user, that the product fulfils all essential safety and environmental requirements as they are defined in the appropriate European Directives. The CE markings directive (93/68/EEC) was adopted in 1993 and amended 12 other directives.

The CE-directive gives a detailed description of the initials CE and any other marks specific to a particular directive and the ways conformity may be acquired. The CE-mark must be put on the equipment with a size of 5 mm (0.2") or larger.

In return for fulfilling the CE marking requirements, the manufacturer or its agent gets the opportunity to cover the entire European market using only one approval procedure for the topics covered in the miscellaneous directives.  The member states of the EC cannot refuse any electronic or electrical product that has been CE marked (unless fraud suspected).  For some products however, national regulations may exist, as long as the topics covered in these national regulations are not covered by a pan-European Directive: an example is Ergonomics for PC-related equipment in Germany.

The manufacturer needs however:

The CE mark is sufficient to allow exporting to all EC members states.  There are some restrictions left over for language variations in user documentation, notably safety instructions should be in the language of the country to which the exports are being sent.  The attachment of the CE mark to the product MUST be founded on a Compliance statement of the manufacturer or importer.  The CE marking scheme has subsequently been extended to cover the following areas, where the links are to the relevant pages of the conformance.co.uk website (checked as live on 20 February 2007):

URLs for CE marking (checked as live on 20 February 2007):

The Recreational Craft Directive

The Recreational Craft Directive (94/25/EEC) Design and Construction of Boats from 2.5m to 24m hull length plus specified components (RCD) was published in Official Journal L164 (30 June 1994) and came into force on 16 June 1996 with the transitional period ending on 15 June 1998.  It was implemented in the UK by the Recreational Craft Regulations 1996 (SI 1996:1353).  The Directive does not apply to:

Particular items of equipment are also covered:

Administration requirements are that:

The oroginal RCD covered only recreational craft with hull lengths in the range 2.5-24 m. An amending Directive (2003/44/EC) extended the coverage to include personal watercraft, and integrated environmental protection requirements. The new Directive adopted exhaust emission limits (CO, HC, NOx and particulates) and noise limits levels for engines.  Directive (2013/53/EU) dated 20 November 2013 for recreational craft and personal watercraft will effectively replace Directive 94/25/EC once implemented.  There are additional exclusions in the new Directive for:

URLs for Recreational Craft Directive (checked as live on 20 February 2007):

Classification Societies

Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Special Service Craft, 2004 .. for classification of mono-hull and multi-hull craft, yachts, high speed and light displacement craft constructed from steel, aluminium alloys and composites.

URLs for Classification Societies (checked as live on 20 February 2007):

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Created by John Summerscales on 08 December 2004 and updated on 19-May-2022 10:19. Terms and conditions.  Errors and omissions.  Corrections.