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General Product Safety Quick Facts

Relevant or Related Legislation:

General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) 1994 transpose Council Directive 92/59/EEC on general product safety. The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 transpose Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety and they came into force on 1 October 2005.

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Current Position:

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 implement Directive 2001/95/EC and were laid before Parliament on 6 July 2005. They came into force on 1 October 2005. On the same date the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 and s10 of the Consumer Protection Act 1997 were repealed.

Key Facts:

• The new Regulations 2005 apply to new and second-hand consumer products, except new products that are covered by specific European safety legislation (i.e. the sectoral directives).

• Products covered include (but are not restricted to) clothing, medicines, primary agricultural and horticultural products, DIY tools and equipment, food and drink, household goods, nursery goods and motor vehicles.

• The Regulations place a general duty on all suppliers of consumer goods to supply products that are safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use.

• Department of Trade and Industry's CCP Directorate has overall policy responsibility for the Regulations but where sectoral responsibilities for safety matters are concerned other relevant Government Departments take the lead. For example:

Food safety - Food Standards Agency
Medicines and Healthcare - Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Motor Vehicles – The Vehicles Operator Services Agency

Note: Safety of products in the workplace and other safety in the workplace matters are the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive.

The Department of Trade and Industry has produced a Guide to the Regulations explaining the requirements in more detail. A printed copy of the guide can be obtained from the DTI Publications Orderline Tel: 0845 015 0010, Fax: 0845 015 0020.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What do the regulations require?
Q2. Who can provide advice about standards?
Q3. Do products that fall under GPSR require CE marking?
Q4. Who enforces the regulations?
Q5. To whom should complaints about unsafe products be made?
Q6. What are the penalties?
Q7. I want to place a consumer product on the market. Where can I get information on safety requirements?

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Q1. What do the regulations require?

The Regulations place a general duty on all suppliers of consumer goods to supply products that are safe in normal or reasonably foreseeable use. Safety takes into account factors such as the product's characteristics, instructions and warnings, and the categories of consumers at serious risk when using the product, particularly children. Relevant British or European standards can be taken into account in assessing the safety of a product.

Q2. Who can provide advice about standards?

The British Standards Institution (BSI) can provide information about published safety standards for products. Their website can be visited on www.bsi-global.com

Q3. Do products that fall under GPSR require CE marking?

No. The Directive does not permit CE marking of products. CE marking is reserved for certain sectoral directives which set out detailed essential health and safety requirements for the products they cover. As the General Product Safety Directive imposes a general safety requirement for a very wide range of products, it is not appropriate to provide for CE marking.

Q4. Who enforces the regulations?

Local Authority Trading Standards Departments have responsibility for day-to-day enforcement of the Regulations.

Q5. To whom should complaints about unsafe products be made?

Complaints about unsafe goods should be made to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. Consumers in Northern Ireland should contact Consumer Line on 0845 600 6262

Q6. What are the penalties?

Supplying an unsafe product can result in a fine of up to £5,000 for each offence, and/or a term of imprisonment of up to three months.

Q7. I want to place a consumer product on the market. Where can I get information on product safety requirements?

Trading Standards Departments can advise on safety requirements. The BSI can also help with questions about published safety standards.

Enquiries:

Relevant Government Departments take the lead on sectoral responsibilities for safety matters. For example:

Food safety - Food Standards Agency
Medicines and Healthcare - Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
Motor Vehicles – The Vehicles and Operator Services Agency
Safety in the workplace - Health and Safety Executive

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