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Low Voltage Directive

The Low voltage Directive (LVD) is one of the oldest Single Market Directives adopted before the "New" or "Global" Approach. It  ensures that electrical equipment within certain voltage limits both provides a high level of protection for European citizens and enjoys a Single Market in the European Union.

LVD covers electrical equipment with a voltage between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current. It should be noted that these voltage ratings refer to the voltage of the electrical input or output, not to voltages that may appear inside the equipment. For electrical equipment within its scope, the Directive covers all health and safety risks, thus ensuring that electrical equipment is safe in its intended use.

In the UK, the lead Government Department is the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS, see links). BIS has produced guidance notes on the Directive which can be downloaded from their website. The European Union has also produced official guidance for the Directive which is available online.

Annex I of LVD is where the safety objectives are defined. Key objectives are as follows:

  • The electrical equipment, together with its component parts, should be made in such a way as to ensure that it can be safely and properly assembled and connected.
  • The electrical equipment should be so designed and manufactured as to ensure that protection against the hazards set out is assured, providing that the equipment is used in applications for which it was made and is adequately maintained.

Measures of a technical nature should be prescribed in order to ensure:

  • that persons and domestic animals are adequately protected against the danger of physical injury or other harm which might be caused by direct or indirect contact;
  • that temperatures, arcs or radiation which would cause a danger, are not produced;
  • that persons, domestic animals and property are adequately protected against non-electrical dangers caused by the electrical equipment which are revealed by experience;
  • that the insulation must be suitable for foreseeable conditions.
  • that the electrical equipment meets the expected mechanical requirements in such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not endangered;
  • that the electrical equipment shall be resistant to non-mechanical influences in expected environmental conditions, in such a way that persons, domestic animals and property are not endangered;
  • that the electrical equipment shall not endanger persons, domestic animals and property in foreseeable conditions of overload.

Official European Guide

UK Guide

BIS Machinery Directive

Europa Low Voltage Directive