» The GS Mark

27 June, 2013

The GS Mark

Representatives from the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enabling UKAS accredited certification bodies to be formally recognised for designation as GS bodies.

The purpose of this Bulletin is to explain the requirements and process for Certification Bodies wishing to become recognised to use the GS mark.

Introduction

The GS Mark is a voluntary German Product Safety mark administered by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) through an enforcing authority Zentralstelle der Länder für Sicherheitstechnik (ZLS). A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in March 2013 between BIS and BMAS. Under this MoU UK Certification Bodies are able to apply to ZLS for notification against the GS mark for specific product scopes. The scopes have to relate to Harmonised Standards as listed in the Official Journal of the EU.

To do this the Certification Body must hold UKAS accreditation for Product Certification to EN 45011 or ISO/IEC 17065 for the scopes concerned, and must meet the specific requirements stated within the regulation concerned (see below).

UKAS does not accredit or notify organisations for the GS mark: the CB concerned will use its UKAS accreditation as part of the evidence for its application direct to ZLS.

Requirements

The requirements for recognition of a Certification Body to offer the GS Mark are stated within the relevant German Regulation – the Product Safety Act: 2011 (ProdSG) – and in an MoU signed between the UK (BIS) and German (BMAS) governments, specifically referring to Articles 13, 18 & 21 of the Act.
As well as the need to meet the requirements of Articles 13, 18 and 21, the intergovernmental agreement between the UK and Germany also requires that: -

  • The ZLS shall notify the certification body to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs for a specific range of tasks.
  • BMAS shall publish the name of the notified certification body in the Federal Official Gazette.
  • BIS, through UKAS, are required to ensure that compliance with the requirements specified above are adequately monitored.
  • ZLS shall be involved in this procedure upon request. The persons commissioned by ZLS shall be entitled to enter and inspect the property and the business premises as well as test laboratories of the certification body during the business hours and to request the presentation of the documentation used for issuing certifications.
  • In connection with the recognition procedure ZLS may request the necessary information as well as and any other support.

The Assessment Process

Requests to be assessed for the purpose of GS Mark notification should be submitted through an Extension to Scope application by the Certification Body concerned and will follow the normal UKAS process. The application must include the specific product scopes required.

The UKAS assessment team will assess the ETS, for the scopes concerned, against EN 45011 or ISO/IEC 17065 (dependent upon the transition status of the CB concerned) and will ensure that the relevant Articles of the ProdSG, including the requirements of Articles 13, 18 and 21 of the regulation have been comprehensively covered.

Please note that even if the CB already holds accreditation for the required scopes assessment will still be necessary in respect of the specific stated requirements of ProdSG.

The UKAS assessment report will include specific confirmation of all requirements being met in respect to the ProdSG requirements, and the report summary will clearly identify that the assessment included the relevant Articles of ProdSG and indicate the level of compliance with them.

The ETS will be subject to the UKAS accreditation decision process.

The UKAS Schedule will clearly identify where accreditation has been granted with reference to the relevant articles of ProdSG having been assessed and complied with.

The schedule can then be be used by the CB as evidence of its competence with respect to GS Mark certifications when applying to ZLS.

Please note that as UKAS Is not involved in the notification process our schedules cannot make reference to the GS mark.

Should you require any clarification to the above please contact your Assessment Manager, or Kevin Belson - Technical Manager.