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The General Product Safety Directive – The world’s best kept secret?

04 November 2019

The General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC (GPSD) covers the safety of any products that do not fall under other European Union (EU) Directives. However, it is rarely recognised or understood by those within the supply chain, even though failure to comply may result in fines and/or imprisonment.

The Directive applies to the supply of all new and second-hand products to consumers for personal use. However, this definition may not be as clear as it first seems, for example a tractor may be considered an industrial product, but consumers can hire it for their own use. It also covers all methods of supply, including those that are sold, leased, hired, lent or part exchanged and applies irrespective of the sales channel used.

Quite simply, the Directive obliges manufacturers and distributors to supply products that are safe. Manufacturers are also obliged to provide relevant information that will enable consumers to assess risks inherent in a product, where such risks are not obvious. This should include information on measures that the consumer can take to mitigate those risks, such as wearing protective gloves. Other measures that the manufacturer must take, so that the consumer can understand the risks which the product may present, include:

• Appropriately marking the product, packaging and instructions.
• Sample testing products on the market.
• Investigating complaints relating to safety and keeping a register of such complaints.
• Informing distributors of the monitoring work and results.

Read the full article in the November issue of DPA

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