THE REGULATORY COMPLIANCE MARK (RCM) PROCESS OVERVIEW
– A two part system of the ACMA and EESS
Comtest can assist with the RCM process and procedures, and is registered with the RCM National Database. Call or email for assistance.
The new RCM process does not change the compliance requirements for electronic and electrical equipment. Testing, test reports, standards, approvals, compliance levels and Declarations of Compliance have not altered and are still mandatory requirements as previous arrangements for electrical safety approvals and ACMA requirements. The most significant visual change is the logo only and removal of the ACMA Suppliers Number.
The RCM system is not similar to the CE process. The RCM System requires that only Australian or New Zealand Importers and Manufacturers have authority to sign the Declaration of Conformity and can authorize the placement of the RCM logo onto products. Manufacturers and exporters outside of Australia and New Zealand have no authority to apply or place the RCM logo directly onto the product or sign RCM Declaration of Conformity.
The only changes relate to the registration of the Australian Importers and Australian Manufacturers, labelling of equipment with the RCM logo or RCM mark, terminology used with Electrical Safety and legal responsibility for compliance being with the Australian Importers and Australian Manufacturers for electrical safety and ACMA matters. For some items, tighter evidence of conformity is required.
The system is based on a common national database used by the Electrical Safety regulators (ERAC), the ACMA (Australia) and RSM (NZ) for the purpose of registration.
In summary, the ERAC RCM System provides:
- a registration of Australian importers and manufacturers that supply electrical and electronic devices,
- plus for those Australian importers and manufacturers that supply mains powered Prescribed Electrical Items (EESS Level 3), the system, links those Australian entities with the approved items listed in the National Approval Database.
Part 1: ACMA System for RCM
This scheme is a process for registration of Suppliers of electrical and electronic equipment that are manufactured in Australia or imported into Australia. A shared a national database has been designated for all supplier registration and is jointly used by the ACMA, the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) and Radio Spectrum Management (New Zealand).
The new process for ACMA replaces the previous ACMA registration process for Australian suppliers which included the allocation of an ACMA Suppliers Number and the use of the C-tick and A-tick.
There are no changes to the testing and record-keeping requirements applicable to devices subject to ACMA arrangements for Telecommunications, Radiocommunications, EMC and EMR.
Testing, Compliance folders and Declarations of compliance prepared by the Australian manufacture or importer still apply.
From an ACMA perspective, the RCM indicates a device’s compliance with applicable ACMA technical standards—that is, for telecommunications, radiocommunications, EMC and EME. A supplier will not be required to include supplier identification on devices labelled with the RCM.
A supplier who intends to supply devices that are required to be labelled under an ACMA Labelling Notice must register on the National Database as a ‘responsible supplier’.
If registering only for ACMA purposes, a supplier must ensure that only the ACMA acknowledgement is checked.
A supplier who is registering for ACMA-only purposes is not able to enter any equipment details.
Devices that were labelled with the C-Tick or the A-Tick can continue to be supplied until labelled stock has been exhausted but must change to RCM label by the 1st March 2016.
Fees for Registration
When you register on the ERAC database, you will be asked for equipment details. You'll then have an option to choose registration for the purposes of complying with the ACMA and/or its electrical equipment safety system (EESS) requirements.
If you elect for ACMA only (your device is not subject to electrical safety requirements), there is no charge for registration.
What is a supplier?:
In broad terms, a supplier from the perspective of the ACMA is an Australian entity (person or company) who supplies equipment to the Australian market that is scoped by one or more of the ACMA's regulatory arrangements.
A supplier can be (as defined by the ACMA):
- an importer in Australia with an ABN,
- a manufacturer in Australia with an ABN
- an Australian agent of a manufacturer or importer who is acting on their behalf. Agent must have an ABN.
The arrangements only apply to equipment intended for supply to the Australian market.
There are three categories of Suppliers from an ACMA view point:
- First-time Supplier
- Existing Supplier
First-time suppliers are suppliers new to the arrangements. They are supplying goods subject to one or more of the arrangements for the first time (post 1st March 2013) and were never issued a Supplier Code Number (SCN) by the ACMA or Standards Australia.
Under the new single compliance mark scheme, the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) becomes the compliance label. First-time suppliers can only label with the RCM as the compliance label. The C-Tick and A-Tick are not available to first-time suppliers as compliance marks.
First-time suppliers must register on the National Database operated by the Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council (ERAC) before using the RCM. To register on the database, you must provide an ABN (Australian Business Number) and other details. You cannot register without an ABN.
The new single compliance mark is used to indicate compliance with both ACMA arrangements and electrical safety arrangements. Some devices only need to meet ACMA arrangements and do not need to meet electrical safety arrangements.
Existing suppliers include anyone registered with the ACMA to use the A-Tick or C-Tick compliance marks, or who are registered with Standards Australia to use the RCM. These suppliers would have first supplied goods prior to 01 March 2013. These suppliers were issued with a Supplier Code Number (SCN) by the ACMA or Standards Australia.
Existing suppliers will have used a 'compliance label' that comprised one of the compliance marks and 'supplier information' that identified the supplier. Supplier information included the SCN, or Australian Business Number or a number issued by Standards Australia under AS/NZS 4417 (where the RCM was the compliance mark).
Existing suppliers can continue to label equipment in the same manner (A-tick or C-tick), but must move to the single compliance mark by 01 March 2016.
Under the new scheme, there is no need to affix supplier identification to the equipment alongside the RCM as previously required. There is nothing stopping the continued appending of supplier information if it suits business purposes, but it is not a requirement under the new arrangement (existing suppliers using the RCM under the old arrangement must continue to include supplier identification until they have registered on the national database).
An agent can act on behalf of an Australia importer or manufacturer in regard to its obligations under one or more of the ACMA arrangements. When given authority (Agency Agreement), an agent can apply appropriate compliance labels, complete the Declaration of Conformity (DoC) in relation to an item, arrange for equipment testing and compile and hold compliance records.
Agents can be independent consultants who regularly act as agents of Australian importers or manufacturers. Agents can also be an importer of a specific line of products that is also acting as an agent for other importers supplying that identical product.
A person acting on behalf of an international manufacturer that does not have a presence in Australia is not considered an agent but will be considered to be the importer for the purposes of the ACMA arrangements.
Responsibility for failure to meet the regulatory arrangement will ultimately lie with the importer or manufacturer.
Part 2: ELECTRICAL SAFETY:
EESS (Electrical Equipment Safety System)
as established by ERAC (Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council).
This is a process for registration of In-scope Electrical Products and Australian/NZ Suppliers.
The process is separate from the existing Electrical Approvals System and Certification database that holds details of Prescribed Item Approvals and Certificates from recognised certification bodies, and the associated Certificate Holders data (Australian/NZ and international companies).
Testing, compliance arrangements and Electrical Approvals still apply.
At this time, only Queensland and Tasmania has fully implemented the EESS and until each remaining participating jurisdiction (Western Australia, Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory) implements the EESS completely, their current requirements for electrical equipment will remain in place. At this time New South Wales will not be participating with the EESS.
In the interim until 1 March 2014, transitional measures will allow that certificates issued by private certifiers (certificates as recognised by NSW government scheme) to be placed onto the national certification database by that certifier so that responsible suppliers can use that certificate to register level 3 equipment.
The EESS process is based on a central system using the National Database (new EESS Registration System of ERAC) maintaining records of:
- Registered Suppliers (can only be Australian and NZ entities),
- Generic Suppliers Declaration that all Level 1, 2 & 3 products are safe when supplied, plus,
- Details of Level 3 and Level 2 In-scope Equipment and associated Equipment Declarations of compliance.
Note, there is no Compliance Agent arrangements for the EESS process. When Level 3 and Level 2 "in-scope" devices are imported from the same international supplier by many Australian or New Zealand importers, each importer must register the device separately. This may mean these devices are registered multiple times.
In-Scope Equipment (EESS only):
In-scope electrical equipment is low voltage electrical equipment that is:
- rated at Greater than 50 V AC RMS or 120V ripple-free DC (Extra-low voltage), and
- rated at Less than 1000V AC RMS or 1500V ripple-free DC (high voltage), and
- designed, or marketed as suitable for household, personal or similar use.
Registration of Level 2 and Level 3 In-Scope Equipment:
Responsible Suppliers are required to register In-scope Equipment they sell or supply on the National Database, that are classified as:
- Level 3 (High Risk - Prescribed Items),
- Level 2 (Medium Risk) as listed in AS/NZS 4417.2.
If your device or family of devices are subject to Level 2 or Level 3 electrical safety requirements (EESS), there is an initial registration fee $75 payable and thereafter, an ongoing fee of $75 per annum for subsequent years for the device registration.
Level 1 In-Scope Equipment:
Level 1 In-scope Equipment (previously called non-prescribed equipment) are not registered on the National Database, but are included in the Generic Suppliers Declaration of Compliance. Compliance folders only are required for Level 1 (Low Risk) In-Scope Equipment proving they are electrically safe, meet the relevant electrical safety standards and also meeting ACMA requirements, and can then be marked with the RCM. Test reports are the most common way of proving safety compliance, manufacturers declarations do not prove compliance for safety.
Registration Options for Suppliers:
Responsible Supplier; is a person, company or business that manufacturers in-scope electrical equipment in Australia or New Zealand, or imports in scope electrical equipment into Australia or New Zealand for sale in EESS participating jurisdictions.
If your supply devices that are subject to electrical safety requirements (EESS), there is an initial registration fee as a Responsible Supplier of $200 and thereafter, an ongoing fee of $200 per annum for subsequent years.
A Responsible Supplier must be a legally identifiable Australian or New Zealand entity holding an Australian Business Number (ABN), or a New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD) number.
Responsible Suppliers have the main obligation for complying with the Electrical Equipment Safety System. The legislation requires Responsible Suppliers to ensure that the electrical equipment they sell meets relevant standards and is electrically safe.
Authorised Officer; is the person who within the Responsible Supplier company, has been authorised to make electrical safety declarations on behalf of the company.
Affiliated Suppliers; is a company that is a related entity to the company registered as a responsible supplier. Affiliated suppliers are limited to Australia/New Zealand related entities.When registering as a responsible supplier there is now an 'affiliated supplier' field, this allows for a responsible supplier to nominate the related New Zealand company for which the responsible supplier is taking responsibility for the equipment supplied by that company (and vice versa if the responsible supplier is a New Zealand registered company).
Authorised Representative: is a Person, Company or Business who has been authorised by the Responsible Supplier to act on their behalf to conduct registrations for Level 2 and Level 3 electrical equipment. An Authorised Representative for a Registered Supplier, there is an initial registration fee of $200 and thereafter, an ongoing fee of $200 per annum for subsequent years.