General Product Safety Directive: an overview
The Directive: GPSD 2001/95/EC
Directive 2001/95/EC became fully applicable on the 15th of January 2004. Objective of the Directive is to ensure that products placed on the European market are safe (Art. 1 par.1). Accordingly, the GPSD aims at protecting consumers from unsafe products.
The safety essential requirements must be ensured for products to be lawfully placed in the European Economic Area.
Art. 2 GPSD defines a safe product as "any product which, under normal
or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use [..], does not present any risk or only the minimum risks compatible with the product's use, considered to be acceptable and consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and health of persons [..]. A safety evaluation must be performed concerning the relevant product and the below must be taken into account:
- "the characteristics of the product, including its composition, packaging, instructions for assembly and, where applicable, for installation and maintenance,
- the effect on other products,
- the presentation of the product, the labelling, any warnings and instructions for its use and disposal and any other indication or information regarding the product,
- the categories of consumers at risk when using the product, in particular children and the elderly.” (Art. 2 par.B).
Under certain conditions, if a product is deemed to be unsafe, the European Commission can ban the marketing of it, recall it from customers and withdraw it from the market.
EU Member State enforce the GPSD requirements and are entitled to request all necessary information to the involved parties and take samples and perform safety checks of any product on the EU market.
The directive provides an alert system, the RAPEX system, which ensures the exchange of information about risk assessments, dangerous products and scientific development amongst other aspects necessary for control of safety of products.
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