Standards and legislation

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Estonian Centre for Standardisation and Accreditation have compiled the guideline, which contains reccomendations and explanations of using and referencing Standards in legislation. Download guideline: 

How to use and reference Standards to support regulations

Standards are voluntary documents, the following of which is never essentially mandatory. Following a standard can be made mandatory to everyone only by referencing standards in legislation.

In Estonia, the referencing of standards in legislation is regulated by the Product Conformity Act. Pursuant to this, the legal act could contain a reference to a standard that is either

  • recommended or mandatory,
  • direct or general.

In Estonian legal act, a standard shall be referenced by using the recommended reference, in the case of which following the referenced standard is not mandatory and the requirements of legal act can be implemented with other solutions as well (except some other standard).

Mandatory or recommended referencing

Mandatory referencing requires everyone whose activities are regulated with a relevant legal act to follow the requirements of the referenced standard. (For example: The procedure of procedure competence conformity assessment must meet the requirements of the standard EVS-EN ISO/IEC 17011:2004 “Conformity Assessment. General requirements for accreditation authorities accrediting conformity assessment institutions”.)

Recommended referencing does not require the following of  the standard’s requirements, although adhering to such standards often provides a feeling of confidence that the requirements of legal act are being followed as a result of adherence to the standard or that some other advantages can be gained (e.g. simpler conformity assessment procedure). (For example: When marking the size designation by using size characteristics and their numeric values, it is recommended to follow the Estonian standard EVS-EN 13402 or some other equivalent standard.)

Dated or undated referencing

A dated reference means that the reference of a referred standard includes the year of adoption. If a dated reference is used, only the referenced edition shall be valid, not taking into account later new editions and amendments. (For example: Petrol and diesel fuel must adhere to Estonian standards
EVS-EN 228:2004 and EVS-EN 590:2004.
)

An undated reference is a reference without the year, in the case of which the referenced standard’s newest edition and its possible amendments are valid. (For example: The appraisal report must adhere to the evaluation report requirements included in the Estonian standard EVS 875-4.)

Direct or general referencing

A direct reference to a standard includes the standard’s reference and it is always unambiguously clear which standard needs to be followed. (For example: Since this regulation entered into force, fire hydrants with threads adhering to the requirements of EVS-EN 620-3:1996 are no longer installed.)

A general reference refers to standards accepted by a certain standardisation organisation or determined under other grounds and such a reference does not include standard’s reference. To find out which standards were referred to with that reference, it is recommended to search for standards based on the ICS group. (For example: In the unregulated parts of Chapters 1 and 2 of this regulation, the relevant Estonian standards (EVS) or, if there are none, the standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) or documents in compliance with the above should be followed to meet the electrical safety requirements established by the Electrical Safety Act.)