As many Malaysian motorcyclists are aware, motorcycle helmets require adherence to some sort of standards hence certification to be sold here. However, confusion arises among consumers (and even the authorities) on why certain helmets receive SIRIM certification while there are others that do not.
WHO AND WHAT IS SIRIM CERTIFICATION?
Let us start with SIRIM Berhad. The acronym stands for Standard of Industrial and Research Institute Malaysia. It is a company wholly owned by the Malaysian Government and is under the purview of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). Set up in 1964, its main task was to develop and implement standardisations for Malaysian industry. As such, products made in Malaysia are tested for compliance to these set or sets of standards. The standards are also applied to some imported appliances, for instance, mobile phones.
The SIRIM security label was first introduced in 1980, beginning with safety and protective items such as motorcycle helmets, car seat belts, and lighting appliances and their ballasts.
However, for the sake of our discussion, the organisation continues to test and certify Malaysian made motorcycle helmets, presently to the the MS1:2011 SIRIM Certification.
ENTER THE ECE R22 STANDARD
The European Union (EU) too, has their industrial standards that are adopted by their member states. These standards cover a wide-ranging types of products, from house appliances to manufacturing machines, to personal protective wear in their respective field for example medical or sports. Motorcycle gear falls under the personal protective equipment (PPE) area of specialty. The standard for motorcyclist’s helmet is described as ECE R22.XX (R22 is the set of standards, “XX” is the revision number, the latest being 06.)
R22 is endorsed by the United Nations (UN) as the standard for motorcycle helmets, hence its adoption in 64 countries around the world, including Malaysia. This why you would sometimes see the label UN R22.XX.
Therefore, imported helmets must be certified to the ECE R22.XX (UN R22.XX) standard. The importer will submit the helmet specifications and test results to the Road Transport Department (Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan – JPJ) for verification. RTD will then issue the permission to import the helmet(s) upon approval. The authorities reserve the rights to confiscate helmets that were imported without permission. The motorcycle helmet is safety related and is thus a controlled item.
OKAY, SHOULD MY HELMET HAVE SIRIM OR ECE R22 LABEL?
The easiest way to remember is this:
- SIRIM certification is compulsory for locally made helmets.
- Imported helmets, conversely, including SHOEI and NOLAN helmets must adhere the ECE R22.XX (UN R22.XX) standard. However, the manufacturer or importer may have SIRIM test and certify them at their own discretion.
Referring to the rules above, you can see why certain helmets have the SIRIM or ECE labels only, or both.
HOW ABOUT DOT?
Malaysia does not recognise the US DOT FMVSS No. 218 standard, except if it is also certified to ECE R22.XX.
The main reason is DOT does not require helmet testing throughout the helmet’s development stage. Instead, independent labs nominated by the DOT will conduct testing only when the helmets are in the market for sale. Comparatively, the ECE requires helmets to be tested at the prototype, pre-production, production and pre-sale stages.