In the modern age, it is difficult - almost impossible - to imagine living in a house without the domestic electrical appliances that make consumers’ daily lives easier: the microwave oven, refrigerator, toaster and washing machine to name only a few.

Unfortunately, people still die or are seriously injured in accidents caused by faulty domestic appliances. ANEC participates in the standardisation of domestic appliances in order to avoid accidents and to ensure that these appliances can be used safely by all consumers, regardless of age or ability. We also aim at increasing the energy efficiency.

Household appliances are subject to EU legislation and fall within the scope of either the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU (electrical household appliances), the Gas Appliances Directive 2009/142/EU (to be replaced by the Gas Appliances Regulation 2016/426 as of 21 April 2018), the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, or the General Product Safety Directive 92/59/EEC.

Our work in the area of household appliances is co-ordinated through the ANEC Domestic Appliances (DOMAP) WG.

Work areas

1. Safety of household appliances

Consumers use many electrical domestic appliances such as microwave ovens, refrigerators, toasters, water heaters. It is crucial these appliances are safe to use. The Domestic Appliances WG follows standardisation work in CENELEC TC 61 which deals with safety requirements for electrical household appliances.

2. The use of appliances by vulnerable consumers including children, older people and people with disabilities

The first generation of European standards for domestic electrical appliances (the EN 60335-2 series) featured a ‘limitation clause’ or ‘exclusion clause’. This presumed that young, elderly or disabled people would use these appliances only under supervision.

Following advocacy from ANEC since 2003, including support from Technical Studies, CENELEC TC 61 has revised its standards to take into account the use of appliances by children, older people and persons with disabilities, based on the proposals from ANEC. The first six revised standards were adopted in 2010, and EN 60335 Part 1 was further revised in 2011. Both revisions represented a huge achievement for ANEC.

The EN 60335 series comprises over 100 Part 2 standards. About 60 standards have already been revised to take into account the safety needs of vulnerable consumers. The culmination of this work represents a huge step forward for the safety of European consumers, especially children, older people & persons with disabilities.

In 2012, the first proposals for the revision of the parent international IEC 60335 series of standards were sent to IEC TC 61 by CENELEC for adoption as International Standards. This represented another milestone in ANEC’s campaign and will benefit consumers globally. In order to facilitate progress at the international level, ANEC - in collaboration with Consumers International – is developing proposals for revision of the Parts 2 to the IEC 60335 standards in TC 61 with respect to the safety of children, older people, and persons with disabilities.

The DOMAP WG is following this work in cooperation with the ANEC Accessibility WG and the Child Safety WG.

3. Surface temperatures of domestic appliances

The sensitivity of their skin and slower reaction times leave children, older people and persons with disabilities at increased risk of burns in the household environment. The potential risks peak when the handles and knobs of household appliances (such as irons and toasters) are too hot. In 2007, CENELEC Guide 29 ‘Temperatures of surfaces likely to be touched - Part 1: Temperatures of hot surfaces’ was issued, at the request of the European Commission, to tackle the problem of hot surface temperatures. ANEC participated in the development of the Guide and monitors that relevant product standards follow the provisions of the Guide.

The revised EN 60335 standards (see above) represent a step in the right direction to making household appliances safer for consumers of all ages and abilities. However, ANEC regretted that the issue of surface temperature limits for handles and knobs were not tackled during the revision. ANEC, as well as several Member States, is  also concerned that surface temperature limits (e.g. of oven doors, of the outside part of toasters) in the revised standards are not in line with the limits of CENELEC Guide 29.

In 2012, IEC TC 61 asked its Maintenance Team 4 (MT4) to review several parts 2 of IEC 60335 to determine which needed to be reviewed with respect to accessible surface temperatures. ANEC & Consumers International participate in this work. At the European level, CENELEC TC 61 set up a task group under its WG 1 in 2017 to set surface temperature limits according to CENELEC Guide 29 and by using Guide 32, starting with toasters. ANEC welcomed this and participates in the work.   

4. Child appealing electrical household appliances

Although more and more child appealing products are entering the European market, there are still no clear indications in EU legislation or in European standards on how it is assessed and/or decided whether a product is considered to be child appealing. There is a need for a common approach and clear criteria. If child-appealing appliances are placed on the market, they need to be safe for children to use or to come into contact with in the home environment, whether they are connected to the mains supply or not.

It is important to note the distinction between ‘child-appealing appliances’ and ‘toy-like appliances’. ‘Toy-like’ implies a certain play value, but it is clear in the case of electrical household appliances that children are interacting with the appliances because they are appealing to children due to their characteristics; children do not play with them. ANEC pressed CENELEC TC 61 WG 8 ‘Child-appealing electrical appliances’ to re-start its activities in 2017 in order to revise clause 22.44 of the standard EN 60335-1 ‘Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety - General requirements’ in this regard.

5. Environmental and performance aspects

ANEC pays attention not only to the safety of domestic appliances, but also to environmental aspects, such as performance, eco-design and energy labelling of household appliances. This work is closely coordinated with the ANEC Sustainability WG.

6. Prevention of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that can be poisonous. When carbon-based fuels do not burn properly, excess CO is produced. When CO enters the body, it prevents the blood from taking oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs. Although no accurate data are available, there are fatalities in the EU due to CO emissions and CO poisoning.

During the holidays for instance, many consumers go camping and take their barbecue grills with them. But when it rains and they cannot cook outside, or when it is cold, some take their barbecue inside or indoors, either to heat the tent or caravan, or to cook. The indoor use of charcoal barbecue grills creates an accumulation of carbon monoxide that can lead to fatal accidents. Prevention of CO poisoning is therefore a priority for the DOMAP WG.

In 2016, ANEC pressed CEN TC 281 to develop an amendment to the European standard on barbecues, introducing a pictogram to warn consumers that the barbeque should not be used indoors. ANEC participates in the work of CENELEC TC 216 on the revision of the European standard for CO detectors, as well as in CEN TC 49 ‘Gas cooking appliances’. In 2013, ANEC and Consumer Safety International (CSI) issued a leaflet on the dangers from the “Silent Killer”. The leaflet explains how carbon monoxide gas has no colour, taste or smell and strikes without warning. It also gives simple tips to recognise and prevent CO intoxication, and gives guidance on what to do in case of a CO poisoning.

7. Market surveillance

Compliance and market surveillance are also important, because the best legislation or standard is of no use if not properly enforced. ANEC therefore monitors and participates as a stakeholder in European-coordinated surveillance actions related to domestic appliances.

Activities in the European & International standards bodies

ANEC is represented in the following Committees:

  • CEN TC 49 ‘Gas cooking appliances’
  • CEN TC 144 WG 7 ‘Garden equipment’
  • CEN TC 281 ‘Appliances, solid fuels and firelighters for barbecuing’
  • CEN TC 281 WG 1 ‘Barbecues’
  • CENELEC TC 61 ‘Safety of Household and Similar Electrical Appliances’
  • CENELEC TC 61 WG 1 ‘Relation between standardisation and legislation’
  • CENELEC TC 61 WG 8 ‘Child appealing electrical products’
  • CENELEC TC 116 ‘Safety of Hand-held and Transportable Electric Motor Operated Tools’
  • CENELEC TC 116 WG 5 ‘Particular requirements for electric motor-operated lawn and garden machinery’
  • CENELEC TC 216 ‘Gas detectors’
  • CENELEC TC 216 WG 9 ‘Carbon monoxide detectors’
  • IEC TC 61 ‘Safety of Household and Similar Electrical Appliances’
  • IEC TC 61 MT4 ‘Temperature limits and resistance to heat & fire’

Other

  • European Commission’s Low Voltage Directive Working Party
  • European Commission’s Gas Appliances Working Group
  • European Commission’s Consumer Safety Network
  • PROSAFE (several joint market surveillance actions)    

ANEC is following the work of following committees by correspondence:

  • CEN Advisory Nucleus on Machinery Safety
  • CEN Sector Forum Gas – Utilization
  • CEN TC 93 ‘Ladders’
  • CEN TC 152 ‘Fairground and amusement park machinery and structures – Safety’
  • CEN TC 153 ‘Machinery intended for use with foodstuffs and feed’
  • CEN TC 295 ‘Residential solid fuel burning appliances’
  • CENELEC TC 61 WG 7 ‘Electric Toys’
  • European Commission’s Machinery Directive Working Group

News

Publications

To access position papers on Domestic Appliances, please click the link, Position papers.