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© krzysztof gorski dreamstime.com General | March 14, 2016

German Product Safety Act (ProdSG) updated

The European Union has enacted a number of legal instruments with a view to protecting the public from risks represented by hazardous products.
These have been implemented into German law by means of the Produktsicherheitsgesetz (Product Safety Act, ProdSG), which governs the process of making products available on the European domestic market. According to the ProdSG, manufacturers, importers and traders may only place such non-food products on the market that fulfil statutory requirements in respect of safety and the protection of health of persons.

It applies where products (with the exception of antiques) are made available, presented or used for the first time on the market on a commercial basis. If a product is already subject to specific sector-based stipulations (e.g. the Machinery Directive), then such stipulations take priority. Nevertheless, the ProdSG may apply in a supplementary capacity. The ProdSG is of crucial importance for the European domestic market regarding the marketing of and safety aspects of consumer products as well as the market supervision that this entails.

According to the ProdSG, a product may only be made available on the market if it presents no danger to safety or health of persons when used as intended or as may be expected. As assessment criteria, the product properties, the way a product affects and/or interacts with other products, product related statements and the consumers and/or user groups that are at special risk are taken into account.

The FBDi points out that manufacturers, importers and traders are obliged to fulfil the requirements of a comprehensive list of items that includes, amongst others, unambiguous labelling for the identification of the consumer product, guarantees for suitable monitoring measures (e.g. random sampling according to risk), cooperation with market surveillance authorities and the CE marking. They must also undertake responsibility for regular inspection and controlling measures and supply surveillance authorities with internal documentation on all inspections and control measures. This will cause a number of changes in 2016. The FBDi Umwelt&Compliance working group will be addressing this topic in detail.

Non-compliance with the ProdSG will be sanctioned by, amongst other things, fines of up to 100,000 euros, a levy on profits and notification to the commercial central register. Gross negligence or malicious intent may be punished by means of fines or imprisonment.

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