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Product safety: general rules

Product safety: general rules

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?

The directive, also known as the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), requires firms to ensure that items on sale are safe and to take corrective action when that is found not to be the case.

It introduces an EU rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products*. This enables national authorities to share information promptly on any measures taken to withdraw such products from sale.

KEY POINTS

  • Products placed on the EU market must be safe.
  • They must bear information enabling them to be traced, such as the manufacturer’s identity and a product reference. Where necessary for safe use, products must be accompanied by warnings and information about any inherent risks.
  • A product is considered safe if it meets specific national requirements or EU standards. If no such requirements or standards exist, the safety assessment must be based on:
    • Commission guidelines;
    • best practice in the sector concerned;
    • state of the art and technology;
    • reasonable consumer safety expectations.
  • National enforcement authorities have powers to monitor product safety and take appropriate action against unsafe items.
  • A rapid information exchange system, managed by the Commission, enables national authorities to alert their counterparts quickly to any products posing a serious health and safety risk. Implementing decision (EU) 2019/417 sets out guidelines for the management of the EU Rapid Information System (RAPEX) on product safety and its notification system, set up by Directive 2001/95/EC. Separate arrangements are in place for food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
  • When using the rapid alert system, national authorities must provide information that identifies the item and its availability elsewhere in Europe, details of the risks it presents and any action taken to protect the public.
  • The Commission may take rapid EU-wide measures for up to a year (renewable) if a specific product poses a serious risk.
  • The legislation does not apply to antiques or to items that need to be repaired or reconditioned.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 15 January 2002 and had to become law in the EU countries by 15 January 2004.

BACKGROUND

For more information, see:

KEY TERMS

Product: any item intended for sale to, or likely to be used by, consumers, whether it is new, used or reconditioned.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (OJ L 11, 15.1.2002, pp. 4-17)

Successive amendments to Directive 2001/95/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/417 of 8 November 2018 laying down guidelines for the management of the European Union Rapid Information System ‘RAPEX’ established under Article 12 of Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety and its notification system (OJ L 73, 15.3.2019, pp. 121-187)

Commission Decision 2010/15/EU of 16 December 2009 laying down guidelines for the management of the Community Rapid Information System RAPEX established under Article 12 and of the notification procedure established under Article 11 of Directive 2001/95/EC (the General Product Safety Directive) (OJ L 22, 26.1.2010, pp. 1-64)

Commission communication in the framework of the implementation of the Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on general product safety (OJ C 38,17.2.2009, pp. 11-14)

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council on the implementation of Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 December 2001 on general product safety (COM(2008) 905 final of 14 January 2009)

last update 14.09.2015

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