Certificate of conformance

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Certificate of conformance is a document issued by a notified certification body confirming that the product and/or its manufacturing process is compliant with all the essential requirements. According to Tricker (2000): "Certificate is a visible form of attestation through an independent and impartial third party." (Ray Tricker, 2000, pp. 89). Conformity assessment is understood as an action of a competent and impartial body, not influenced by the users, consumers, vendors, manufacturer or its representative, consisting in carrying out an assessment and based on it (in case of a positive result) issuing an attestation (certificate) confirming that the product, management system or personnel meets the adopted criteria.

Classification of the conformity assessment by the carrying out body

Given the nature of the conformity assessment body (or more specifically its degree of independence), three types of assessment can be distinguished (Ray Tricker, 2000, pp. 202-203):

  • first party assessment - the organisation interested in the assessment carries out such examination itself, using its own staff,
  • second party assessment - the customer carries out an examination on goods etc. provided by the supplier,
  • third party assessment - a specialised, independent body carries out an examination of the organisation's activities or its products. This is by far the most reliable form of conformity assessment as the assessment body is independent, professional and specialized.

Forms of conformity assessment

Conformity assessment - if positive - is usually accompanied by obtaining the right to use a conformity mark, i.e. a symbol indicating that a product or a process is compliant with certain requirements or technical specifications. The most important forms of conformity assessment include (Ray Tricker, 2000, pp. 89-90):

  • accreditation - an action by which an authorised body formally recognises that a particular organisation or a person is competent to carry out a specific task. Accreditation granting ensures that conformity assessment market is based on the work of competent organisations supervised by specialized bodies.
  • certification - an action of a competent and independent of users, consumers, vendors, manufacturer and its representative consisting in carrying out an evaluation and, if the outcome is positive, granting an attestation (certification) confirming that the product, management system or employees meet all the necessary criteria.
  • manufacturer's declaration of conformity - an action consisting in issuing a written assurance by the manufacturer stating that a good, service or a process are compliant with specific requirements.

Consequences regarding trading goods non-compliant with specific requirements

The proceedings regarding the goods on the market which do not comply with the essential requirements shall be initiated if the findings of an inspection show that the product does not meet the essential requirements. The specialised body conducting the procedure may do the following (Allen Blackman, Santiago Guerrero, 2012, pp. 256-268):

  • set a time limit/date for the removal of the non-conformity,
  • order the withdrawal of the product from the market,
  • forbid or restrict the onward transfer of a device to a user, a consumer or a seller,
  • order the party to the proceedings to inform consumers or users of the product of the findings of non-conformity,
  • order the party to repurchase the product from the persons who acquired it,
  • order the party to dispose of the product if the dangers caused by the product cannot be removed in any other way.

These measures shall be applied depending on the type of non-compliance of the product with the essential requirements and the degree of hazard caused by the product. These measures implemented for a specified or unspecified time limit or otherwise be immediately enforceable.

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Author: Sylwia Pasternak