The EN 980 (BS-EN-980 – Official English language edition) is the go-to document for Symbols for use in the labeling of medical devices for use in Europe. However, the user of this important standard often wants to integrate the symbols themselves into the various labels and other information affiliated with the sale and use of these products.
This is where the CD Rom edition sold by Document Center Inc. comes in handy. All the symbols in the EN-980 are readily available to use in manufacturer-supplied information.
The EN 980 European Standard was prepared to provide a single methodology for the presentation of information required by all of the European Directives on medical devices.
It highlights the legislative preference within the European Union for the use of symbols in medical device labelling, thereby reducing the need for multiple translations of words into national languages. In addition, it was intended to simplify labelling wherever possible and to prevent separate development of different symbols to convey the same information.
The meaning of some of these symbols is self-evident. Some are already in widespread use and familiar to healthcare professionals. The meaning of others will become clear with use or when viewed in the context of the device itself. Symbols used with medical devices for use by other than healthcare professionals can require additional explanations.
In this respect, attention is drawn to the fact that risk management, e.g. the use of EN ISO 14971, is an integral element in medical device design and manufacturing. The use of appropriate symbols can, therefore, be an important element in risk reduction, which is a key part of risk management and is also specifically referred to in the relevant medical device directives. Symbols should only be used without explanation when risk assessment by the manufacturer indicates that it is appropriate.
The symbols in Clause 5 of this European Standard have been in general use for some time and users have some degree of familiarity with them. Additional symbols are now being introduced in Clause 6 which may be new or unfamiliar to users. As a precaution, Clause 6 requires that the meaning of these new symbols be explained in the information supplied by the manufacturer. This is without prejudice to the harmonization of this European Standard and the symbols in it.
It is not always possible to develop symbols for all information presented with the device. Not all symbols are appropriate for all types of medical devices. The validity of information conveyed by a symbol can be adversely affected by subsequent events e.g. damage to a package can affect the sterility of a device.
BS EN 980 includes examples of how some of the symbols can be used. These are illustrative only and do not represent the only ways in which the requirements of this standard can be met.
BS EN 980 also provides information about the use of the general prohibition symbol.
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