New legislative framework for product safety
23 November 2011
Nine EU directives covering a wide variety of products will ensure better product safety. The sectors concerned are electrical and electronic products, lifts, measuring instruments, civil explosives, pyrotechnic articles and equipment for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. Brussels, 21 November 2011.
Market surveillance and customs officers can now better check the safety of products using more effective tools. In addition, Member States can improve the supervision of monitoring bodies that check the conformity of products with EU law, for example ensuring that the CE marking has been properly applied by manufacturers.
Certain provisions (see below) of the nine directives are being aligned with model provisions developed at EU level to overcome divergences in EU law which make life hard for businesses. In the future, producers, importers and distributors will profit from uniform trading conditions. At the same time this process will further improve the safety of products on sale in the EU by strengthening compliance procedures and make it easier to keep non-compliant products off the market.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, stated: "Safety of products is our first priority. Also, producers and distributors will profit from increased consumer trust. Moreover, EU product legislation is now starting to take on a more uniform “look”, leading to reductions in administrative burden and costs. However, it is not sufficient to strengthen the rules. We also need Member States to ensure enhanced market surveillance deterring unscrupulous market operators.”
The changes made to the nine directives on alignment relate to definitions (for example “manufacturer”, “making available on the market”, “CE marking”), the obligations of economic operators, traceability requirements, conformity assessment bodies and procedures, CE marking and so on.
Obligations for manufacturers, importers and distributors
All products in the nine sectors marketed in the EU must carry a CE conformity marking , which is the manufacturer's declaration that they satisfy all of the essential requirements of the applicable directive(s). Products that are CE marked enjoy free circulation in the European Economic Area (EEA).
Before obtaining the CE mark a manufacturer has to carry out a safety and conformity assessment. The manufacturer has to establish more comprehensive technical documentation for products and must ensure traceability.
Importers must check whether manufacturers have carried out conformity assessment of products correctly and if necessary must carry out random tests themselves.
The nine industry sectors concerned by the alignment
The Commission proposes to align the following directives which all ensure the free movement of goods in the sectors concerned:
The New Legislative Framework for marketing of products entered into force on 1 January 2010. Designed to improve the operation of the internal market in goods, the main aim is to ensure the safety of citizens and reduce the number of products on the market which do not satisfy EU legislation. Another objective is to improve the quality of the work performed by bodies active in testing and certifying products. Furthermore the Framework should also bring more consistency to the whole regulatory framework for products and simplify its application.
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