When must updates to (ISO) standards be adopted?
Before we answer this question, let it first be said that only 2 harmonised ISO standards are mandatory for compliance with RCD:
- ISO 8666 – (definition & measurement of) Principal Data
- ISO 10087 – Craft Identification Coding System
While all other harmonised standards are optional, they carry a presumption of conformity. This is very significant. It means that all countries in EEA have recognised that the standard satisfies the requirements of the RCD (ie a harmonised standard) and thus, if properly applied to a product, that product must conform to the directive. If a solution other than a harmonised standard is used, then the solution may be challenged.
So if a standard is not mandatory, no particular edition of the standard can be mandatory but manufacturers wishing to benefit from the presumption of conformity should read-on to find out how updated standards transfer this status.
When an update to a harmonised standard is published, a little time will pass while each country in EEA formally adopts it as their own national standard. Once this is completed, the EU Commission prints the reference to the new standard in its Official Journal. From this date, the new standard may be used and carries the presumption of conformity. The old edition of that standard will retain its presumption of conformity for a period set by the Commission. The period will be short for standards which are considered to require only trivial physical modifications to production lines and up to 18 months for standards, such as stability (ISO 12217) which may require some design changes, let alone modification of production lines.
The EU Commission keeps a list of all current harmonised standards, alongside-which is the date that the old edition will lose its presumption of conformity. Note that RCD I and RCD II have different lists. RCD II is a new directive and thus has no need for ‘transition’ of editions of standards. It simply started with the latest edition of all the standards and thus no superseded standards carry a presumption of conformity for RCD II. The lists can be found here:
So, in summary, only 2 standards are mandatory but other than this, any edition of any standard may be used but to benefit from the ‘presumption of conformity’ check the dates in the lists above.
If there is any confusion, please contact HPiVS.