Mohammad Saleh Badri, Acting Director General, ESMA
The UAE has recorded zero fatalities and zero accidents related to government-certified heaters. This has been achieved since Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) made it mandatory for manufacturers, traders and suppliers to seek approval before putting the water heaters in the market in late 2008 till date.
This is a big contrast to the scenario before the implementation of the regulation where accidents related to poor-quality water heaters have been reported year after year. From 2004 to 2007, two fatalities by electrocutions and at least three separate explosions have been reported in the UAE.
Eng. Mohammad Saleh Badri, Acting Director General, ESMA, said: “In the past years prior to the implementation of the regulation, there has been a number of explosions in different emirates. To solve this, the ESMA board of Directors chaired by HE Dr. Rashid Bin Fahad, also Minister of Environment and Water, has asked us to formulate a system that will guarantee the safety of these products.”
In line with this, ESMA together with technical experts and manufacturers gathered together in 2007, to form safety criteria based on international norms and standards, which was later on made mandatory by a UAE Cabinet as a Regulation in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The standard is concerned with thermal storage closed type electric water heaters for household use intended for heating water to a temperature below its boiling point, having a rated capacity not less than 6 litres and not more than 200 litres, and designed for operation on a.c. supplies, at a rated voltage being not more than 250 V.
Since then, manufacturers, importers and dealers of water heaters had to first obtain the Certificate of Registration and Statement of Registration from ESMA before the products are allowed to trade in the country.
Failure to comply with the regulation is punishable under Article 26 of Law No: 28 of 2001 which administers jail term or fine not less than Dh30,000 or both.
Today, 16 companies, which manufacture 120 ESMA-approved models, have received mandatory certificates from ESMA.
“This is a great achievement for the UAE as a whole,” Badri said. “Water heaters, which used to pose a potential danger to consumer safety, are now well regulated and performing as per the standards. Our technical team is continuously evaluating the materials of the product and the process of making it to make sure that the final product is safe for use. We have also made it mandatory that the laboratories testing these products are approved by us.”
Badri added: “This is also beneficial for manufacturers and traders because ESMA-issued certificates are accepted regionally, which makes it easier for traders to tap other markets.
We are also in process of having these certificates acknowledged internationally. This will give UAE manufacturers a great advantage as they will soon be able to compete in the international arena. All these are part of ESMA strategy to help develop the economy of UAE that is in line with the overall UAE strategy.”
In spite of this safety achievement, Badri said, consumers should remain vigilant and should continue to look for the ESMA Mark of Conformity to make sure that nothing goes wrong.
“We urge the consumers to look for the mark and if they found any sign of incompliance, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will act accordingly to protect the safety of the consumers,” Badri said.