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Brief Introduction of
Directive 92/59/EEC on
General Product Safety

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COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 92/59/EEC of 29 June 1992

It is necessary to establish on a Community level a general safety requirement for any product placed on the market that is intended for consumers or likely to be used by consumers; whereas certain second-hand goods should nevertheless be excluded by their nature;

Production equipment, capital goods and other products used exclusively in the context of a trade or business are not covered by this Directive;

Article 1

1. The purpose of the provisions of this Directive is to ensure that products placed on the market are safe.

2. The provisions of this Directive shall apply in so far as there are no specific provisions in rules of Community law governing the safety of the products concerned.

Article 2

  1. product
    shall mean any product intended for consumers or likely to be used by consumers, supplied whether for consideration or not in the course of a commercial activity and whether new, used or reconditioned.
    However, this Directive shall not apply to second-hand products supplied as antiques or as products to be repaired or reconditioned prior to being used, provided that the supplier clearly informs the person to whom he supplies the product to that effect;
  2. safe product
    shall mean any product which, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use, including duration, does not present any risk or only the minimum risks compatible with the product's use, considered as acceptable and consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and health of persons, taking into account the following points in particular:
    • - the characteristics of the product, including its composition, packaging, instructions for assembly and maintenance,
    • - the effect on other products, where it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used with other products,
    • - the presentation of the product, the labelling, any instructions for its use and disposal and any other indication or information provided by the producer,
    • - the categories of consumers at serious risk when using the product, in particular children.
    The feasibility of obtaining higher levels of safety or the availability of other products presenting a lesser degree of risk shall not constitute grounds for considering a product to be 'unsafe' or 'dangerous';
  3. dangerous product
    shall mean any product which does not meet the defintion of 'safe product' according to point (b) hereof;
  4. producer shall mean:
    1. - the manufacturer of the product, when he is established in the Community, and any other person presenting himself as the manufacturer by affixing to the product his name, trade mark or other dinstinctive mark, or the person who reconditions the product,
    2. - the manufacturer's representative, when the manufacturer is not established in the Community or, if there is no representative established in the Community, the importer of the product,
    3. - other professionals in the supply chain, insofar as their activities may affect the safety properties of a product placed on the market.
  5. distributor
    shall mean any professional in the supply chain whose activity does not affect the safety properties of a product.

Article 3

General safety requirement

  1. Producers shall be obliged to place only safe products on the market.
  2. Within the limits of their respective activities, producers shall:
    2.1 - provide consumers with the relevant information to enable them to assess the risks inherent in a product throughout the normal or reasonably foreseeable period of its use, where such risks are not immediately obvious without adequate warnings, and to take precautions against those risks.

    Provision of such warnings does not, however, exempt any person from compliance with the other requirements laid down in this Directive,
    2.2 - adopt measures commensurate with the characteristics of the products which they supply, to enable them to be informed of risks which these products might present and to take appropriate action including, if necessary, withdrawing the product in question from the market to avoid these risks.

    The above measures shall for example include, whenever appropriate, marking of the products or product batches in such a way that they can be identified, sample testing of marketed products, investigating complaints made and keeping distributors informed of such monitoring.

  3. Distributors shall be required to act with due care in order to help to ensure compliance with the general safety requirement, in particular by not supplying products which they know or should have presumed, on the basis of the information in their possession and as professionals, do not comply with this requirement. In particular, within the limits of their respective activities, they shall participate in monitoring the safety of products placed on the market, especially by passing on information on product risks and cooperating in the action taken to avoid these risks.

Article 4

1. Where there are no specific Community provisions governing the safety of the products in question, a product shall be deemed safe when it conforms to the specific rules of national law of the Member State in whose territory the product is in circulation.

2. In the absence of specific rules as referred to in paragraph 1, the conformity of a product to the general safety requirement shall be assessed having regard to voluntary national standards giving effect to a European standard or, where they exist, to Community technical specifications or, failing these, to standards drawn up in the Member State in which the product is in circulation, or to the codes of good practice in respect of health and safety in the sector concerned or to the state of the art and technology and to the safety which consumers may reasonably expect.

3. Conformity of a product with the provisions mentioned in paragraphs 1 or 2 shall not bar the competent authorities of the Member States from taking appropriate measures to impose restrictions on its being placed on the market or to require its withdrawal from the market where there is evidence that, despite such conformity, it is dangerous to the health and safety of consumers.

Obligations and powers of the Member States

Article 5

Member States shall adopt the necessary laws, regulations and administrative provisions to make producers and distributors comply with their obligations under this Directive in such a way that products placed on the market are safe.

In particular, Member States shall establish or nominate authorities to monitor the compliance of products with the obligation to place only safe products on the market and arrange for such authorities to have the necessary powers to take the appropriate measures.
(a) organizing appropriate checks on the safety properties of products, even after their being placed on the market as being safe, on an adequate scale, up to the final stage of use or consumption;
(b) requiring all necessary information from the parties concerned;
(c) taking samples of a product or a product line and subjecting them to safety checks;
(d) subjecting product marketing to prior conditions designed to ensure product safety and requiring that suitable warnings be affixed regarding the risks which the product may present;
(e) making arrangements to ensure that persons who might be exposed to a risk from a product are informed in good time and in a suitable manner of the said risk by, inter alia, the publication of special warnings;
(f) temporarily prohibiting, for the period required to carry out the various checks, anyone from supplying, offering to supply or exhibiting a product or product batch, whenever there are precise and consistent indications that they are dangerous;
(g) prohibiting the placing on the market of a product or product batch which has proved dangerous and establishing the accompanying measures needed to ensure that the ban is complied with;
(h) organizing the effective and immediate withdrawal of a dangerous product or product batch already on the market and, if necessary, its destruction under appropriate conditions.

2. The measures to be taken by the competent authorities of the Member States under this Article shall be addressed, as appropriate, to:
(a) the producer;
(b) within the limits of their respective activities, distributors and in particular the party responsible for the first stage of distribution on the national market;
(c) any other person, where necessary, with regard to cooperation in action taken to avoid risks arising from a product.

Notification and Exchanges of Information

Article 7

Emergency situations and action at Community level

Article 8

Article 9

Article 10

Article 11

Miscellaneous and final provisions

Article 13

Article 14

Article 15

Article 16

Article 17

Article 18

Article 19



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