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General Product Safety Directive

Two very common misconceptions about products being placed on the European market is that the CE Mark is a mark of safety and all that products must be CE marked. In fact, whilst safety usually does form part of the CE marking requirements, not all Directives and Regulations have safety requirements. Also, not all products can be CE marked! Only those that are covered by one of the current 25 CE Marking Directives or Regulations. So what happens to ensuring the safety of products that are not covered by the CE mark?

The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) (2001/95/EC) sets out safety requirements for all consumer products being placed on the European market, but unlike other European Directives, the GPSD is not a CE marking Directive. The act of placing the product on the market is the only act required to illustrate that product has been assessed and found to comply with the general safety requirements. The key aspect related to the scope of the GPSD is that it’s only focus is on consumer products, although this does also include products under reasonable foreseeable conditions to be used by consumers, even if not intended for them. The other note on the scope is that is does not exclude products covered by other CE marking legislation, so the GPSD should be applied alongside all other applicable legislation.

Conformity requirements

The General Product Safety Directive sets out to ensure that all products placed on the market are safe. To comply the GPSD, a manufacturer shall undertake and document an assessment that covers the risks and risk categories associated with the product. The recommended method of undertaking such an assessment is through the application of voluntary European Harmonised Standards. However other options are available, such as using European Commission guidelines and using product safety codes of good practice.

The list of harmonised standards, which form part of the ‘Official Journal’ can be viewed on the European Commission’s website.

The Directive is purely self-assessment with no requirement to involve a third party. Manufacturers are not required to complete a Declaration or Certificate and they do not need to affix any conformity markings (other than the information identified to be supplied for the safe use of the product). Whilst you do not need to involve a third party, you can do so at your choice; below is a list of typical items of work that the CE Marking Association can undertake to help you to meet your conformity requirements.

How we can help

The CE Marking Association assists manufacturers and importers with their European product conformity requirements on a day to day basis. Here are some of the services on offer:

  • Consultancy to understand your route to conformity and applicable requirements
  • Risk assessments to establish and document risks and controls associated with the product
  • Assessments to harmonised European standards
  • Technical documentation compilations

If you need any help with placing consumer products on the market, then please contact us on 01564 792349.