Conformity Tracking System
In this page you can read the below topics
- What is Notified Body?
- Why Notification?
- Legal Background
- To Find a Notified Body
- Selecting a Notified Body
- Changing a Notified Body
- Product Certification and Gulf Conformity Tracking System (GCTS)
- Children Toys
- Low Voltage Electrial Equipment and Appliances
- Standards and Presumption of Conformity
What is Notified Body?
GSO Technical Regulations require suppliers of certain goods to go through checks on their products to see if they are “fit” for the Gulf countries’ common market, meaning they are safe to use and of good quality. These check procedures make up the “Conformity Assessment” and require the manufacturer to involve independent third-party organizations to determine if their products meet the Gulf standards. Such organizations include competent government bodies or private sector entities involved in testing, inspection and certification of products. Only those bodies which have been approved by the GCC Standardization Organization as competent and impartial and which are publically listed in its register may be called “Notified Bodies”.
Notified Bodies are an essential part of the GSO quality infrastructure and help to ensure only safe and quality goods complying with the requirements of the Gulf Technical Regulations can reach the consumers in the Gulf countries. The strict and formal process of designation of a Notified Body – which is described below in detail – ensures that any independent third-party testing, inspection or certification organization, whether governmental entity or private sector enterprise, has to fulfil the same criteria and follow the same procedures to demonstrate towards the notifying authority (GSO) the necessary impartiality, resources and competency to continuously perform the conformity assessment procedures in a correct manner and in accordance to the Gulf Technical Regulations. This means that all involved stakeholders including member states’ competent authorities, manufacturing industry and trade, as well as consumers can rely on the results no matter which Notified Body has been involved in the process.
The GSO is responsible for establishing and implementing the procedures for the assessment of Notified Bodies regarding their competence to provide conformity assessment services in the scope of specific technical regulations which require involvement of a third party and their designation and notification to the member states and the public. Further responsibilities include ongoing monitoring and surveillance of Notified Bodies following their designation. The designation for Notified Bodies by GSO follows the regulations in the “GSO Procedure for Designation of the Conformity Assessment bodies (NP-01)” which is currently available GSO website. NP-01 serves to “identify the criteria and mechanism for the designation of conformity assessment bodies which applied to become notified bodies in order to provide conformity assessment services in accordance with the approved GSO technical regulations”. The requirements towards applicant organization and the process for assessment, review and designation as well as the continued surveillance of Notified Bodies follows established and proven concepts as used by regulatory government agencies around the world to ensure competency and impartiality of the designated Conformity Assessment Bodies (CABs). The detail requirements and process are described in the below sections.
GSO is the notifying authority by decision of the 17th meeting of the Board of Directors in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 8th May 2013. The first conformity assessment body was approved in 2014 as a Notified Body for the GSO Toys Technical Regulation and in 2015 the first Notified Body for the GSO Low Voltage Equipment Technical Regulation has been designated. Since then GSO has assessed and designated multiple organizations worldwide as Notified Bodies for the GSO Technical Regulations for Toys (BD-131704-01) and Low Voltage Electrical Equipment and Appliances (BD-142004-01). The complete listing of Notified Bodies can be found here: https://www.gso.org.sa/nb/
To Find a Notified Body
The complete listing of Notified Bodies is published and regularly updated by GSO which can be found here: [link] https://www.gso.org.sa/nb/ . The listing contains all necessary information regarding the Notified Bodies such as the Registration Number, the Notified Body’s full organization name and contact address, telephone and email as well the scope of the designation by GSO in terms of Technical Regulations and product scope for which the organization is qualified to perform the conformity assessment procedures. The list of Notified Bodies on the GSO website offers multiple ways to find a registered organization. Search criteria include the organization’s registration number, its name, the country where it is established and the Technical Regulations in scope. For guidance on how manufacturers and importers can select a suitable Notified Body for their specific situation please refer to below sections. [Selection or changing notified bodies] Following the designation of a conformity assessment body, the GSO will perform regular monitoring and surveillance of each Notified Body; and in case of finding any non-conformities with the GSO rules and regulations the notifying authority may take measures towards a Notified Body such as restriction of its scope, temporary suspension or in serious cases withdrawal of the designation. The current situation of each Notified Body’s designation status can be verified in the published listing on the GSO website.
Selecting a Notified Body
Notified bodies can be located in any country around the world and provide services to clients within the GSO member countries as well as to manufacturers located overseas. Manufacturers, importers and distributors – also called “Economic Operators” in the GSO Technical Regulations – can select the Notified Body of their choice to provide the necessary product testing, inspection and certification services to allow them placing their products on the Gulf market. In any case the Notified Body must be designated for the applicable GSO Technical Regulation Children Toys (CT) or Low Voltage Devices (LVD)in order to provide the necessary certifications. Depending on the economic operators’ specific situation different points need to be considered when selecting a service provider to obtain your Gulf certifications:
- In which country or region are the manufacturer and the Notified Body located?
- For overseas bodies, does the legal representative or local office in the GCC countries provide customer service & support in the application process and beyond?
- Are testing facilities operated by the Notified Body organization directly or are external testing laboratories working in cooperation with the service provider?
- Does the service provider have special expertise regarding the applied products?
- What are capacity and lead times offered by the service provider?
- Service fees and any additional charges?
- How is the reputation and market recognition of the service provider?
Economic operators should carefully consider and obtain several proposals before deciding for a service provider, as not only the initial certification but all follow-up services in case of product design or material changes, updated editions of testing standards, renewal of certifications etc. will be done at the same Notified Body to avoid costly re-evaluation of products at another service provider and changes in the GCTS registration and markings. A manufacturer or importer may apply the same product only at one single Notified Body of their choice. Rejected or withdrawn certifications will be reported by the Notified Body to the GSO and all other Notified Bodies.
Changing a Notified Body
If an economic operator is not satisfied with the Notified Body’s service, or for other reasons wishes to voluntary change their service provider, a number of considerations have to be taken. The manufacturer has to inform the new service provider about any existing certifications held at other Notified Bodies and provide full disclosure about any changes to the product design etc. When processing the re-evaluation of the products at new Notified Body, the service provider shall take existing conformity assessment results into account as far as possible, but has the right to require any additional testing, documentation etc. as necessary to satisfy the requirements for complete documentation of the product compliance before issuing a new Gulf certification. The new certification will result in a change to the GCTS registration and require the manufacturer to update their product markings on the item itself and its packaging as well as any other materials. Following the issuing of the new certification, any remaining previous certificates for the same product issued by the previous service provider shall be cancelled by the certificate holder.
Product Certification and Gulf Conformity Tracking System (GCTS)
Notified Body involvement for testing, inspection and certification of products is required by the GSO Technical Regulations for products such as children toys and low voltage electrical equipment and appliances. These regulations define mandatory activities in the overall conformity assessment procedures to be conducted exclusively by Notified Bodies. After complying with all requirements in the Technical Regulations, including those which only apply to the manufacturer or responsible supplier and do not require any third party, the products have to be marked with the Gulf Conformity Marking – also called the “G-mark” due to its shape. The general requirements for the marking of products are stipulated in the Gulf Regulation on G-Marking – BD09100501. link https://www.gso.org.sa/gso-website/gso-website/activities/conformity/technical-regulations-and-guides/gcc-tr-on-marking.pdf As detailed below for certain product groups in the scope of the Technical Regulation the certification by a Notified Body is mandatory. These products will be registered in the product tracking system of GSO and have to display the “Gulf Conformity Tracking Symbol” (GCTS) on the product itself and on its packaging. Details of the marking requirements are defined in the GCTS Rules (see Annex 8 of NP-01) and are explained further in the below sections. Based on the GSO Technical Regulations in force the economic operators have to involve a Notified Body for the conformity assessment of the following products:
Children Toys (BD-131704-01)
Generally, Children toys or toys means products designed or intended, whether or not exclusively, for use in play by children under 14 years of age, in particular also including specific toys such as
- Functional Toys
- Aquatic Toys
- Activity Toys
- Chemical Toys
- Cosmetic Toy kits
- Gustative Games
- Olfactory Board Games
Refer to the Article (1) of BD-131704-01 for detailed definitions. In the following cases toys are subjected to one of the Conformity Assessment Procedures requiring the intervention of a Notified Body:
For the Gulf Type Examination in Annex IV: Toys non-conforming entirely to the Gulf standards, as is the case with the essential requirements not fully detailed in the Gulf standards.
For the Importer Verification of Conformity in Annex V: According to Article (18) paragraph 2.“Before placing a toy on the market, the importer who is not able to provide the evidence needed about the manufacturer responsibilities listed in paragraph (2) of Article (4) of this regulation shall use the conformity assessment procedure set out in Annex V.” Under this procedure each consignment of imported toys has to undergo certification by a Notified Body. As per Article (2), the following items are excluded from the scope of the Technical Regulation:
- Products listed in Annex I
- Playground equipment intended for public use;
- Automatic playing machines, whether coin operated or not, intended for public use;
- Toy vehicles equipped with combustion engines;
- Toy steam engines; and
- Slings and catapults.
Annex I further specifies 19 categories of items which shall not be considered as toys within the meaning of this regulation.
Low Voltage Electrial Equipment and Appliances(BD-142004-01)
Generally electrical equipment means all electrical and electronic devices and appliances and fixtures that contain electrical and/or electronic components designed for use with a voltage rating of between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current, other than the electrical equipment and phenomena listed in Annex (2). According to List No. (2): TC143307-01 [link https://www.gso.org.sa/gso-website/gso-website/activities/conformity/technical-regulations-and-guides/tc143307-01-ar-en.pdf ] the following 13 categories of electrical equipment and appliances are subjected to the CAP in Annex (4) of the GSO LV TR and require Gulf Type Examination certification by a Notified Body:
- Domestic Electrical Fans
- Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment [up to 30 cubic feet = 850 liters]
- Centrifugal clothes dryers and Clothes washing machines, including machines which both wash and dry [up to 12 kg]
- Food grinders and mixers, fruit or vegetable juice extractors.
- Electro-thermic hair-dressing apparatus and hand dryers
- Domestic electric heating apparatus
- Microwave ovens
- Other ovens; cookers, cooking plates, boiling rings, grillers and roasters
- Electric instantaneous or storage water heaters and immersion heaters [appliances up to 200 liters]
- Electric smoothing irons
- Plugs, Socket outlets, Adaptors, Cord Extension Sets and chargers
- Air conditioners
The below listed equipment and phenomena are outside the scope of this technical regulation (Annex 2):
- Electrical equipment for use in an explosive atmosphere
- Electrical equipment for radiology and medical purposes
- Electrical parts for goods and passenger lifts
- Electricity meters
- Electric fence controllers
- Radio-electrical interference
- Specialized electrical equipment, for use on ships, aircraft or railways, which complies with the safety provisions drawn up by International Bodies in which the Member States participate.
Standards and Presumption of Conformity
The GSO Technical Regulations require all products to conform to the Essential Technical Requirements on Safety, Electromagnetic Compatibility etc. as defined in the Annex of the Technical Regulations. These essential requirements are following general principles, such as “prevention of any electric shock hazard”, but do not specify technical solutions or testing methods to ensure products are safe and comply with all requirements. The technical specifications are found in the Gulf standards which provide for a “presumption of conformity”, meaning that products that comply with these standards requirements can be considered in conformity with the Essential Requirements of the Technical Regulation for those aspects which they cover. Selection of the correct standards according to each product’s design and features is an essential step of the conformity assessment procedure to be followed by manufacturers and subject to a Notified Body’s review and approval. Gulf Standards can be found from the GSO Standards Catalogue [link: https://www.gso.org.sa/store/gso/standards?lang=en ]. For the Technical Regulations on Toys and LVE mostly GSO Standards are adopted by endorsement of international or national standards such as ISO, IEC, EN, BS etc. Gulf Standards are adopted by endorsement for the latest version of the international/national standard. That means for manufacturers they should always use the latest available published edition of an adopted standard, while the previous adopted edition remains effective for 2 years starting from the date of last update. In case of the LV Technical Regulation Article (15) permits the use of IEC standards to show conformity in cases where no Gulf standard has been published yet. GSO provides as non-binding guidance to economic operators listings of harmonized standards which may be used for conformity assessment.
Link to the Technical Regulations:
- GSO Technical Regulation On Toys: Second Edition – BD-131704-01 (English)
- Gulf Technical Regulation for Low Voltage Electrical Equipment and Appliances – BD-142004-01 (English)