What is a product safety?
There are many aspects how to weight the goods and products those we are buying - quality, handiness and other practical aspects. One of the most important aspects of the product is product safety. Safe product shall mean any product which, under normal or reasonably foreseeable conditions of use including duration and, where applicable, putting into service, installation and maintenance requirements, does not present any risk or only the minimum risks compatible with the product's use, considered to be acceptable and consistent with a high level of protection for the safety and health of persons does not apply any hazard to the person’s property as well to environment.
The product safety is regulated by the wide range of legislative and policy making norms in Europian Union level for example General product safety Directive 2001/95/EC (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32001L0095:EN:HTML). Since joyining EU all the safety requirements are in force also in Latvia and since May 1, 2004, product safety regulations are entitled in the Product and services safety Law.
Responsablity of staekeholders involved in the product safety enforcement
Under the GPSD:
Economic operators – manufacturers and importers:
- Are responsible for the safety of the products they place on the European market;
- Have a duty to provide complete and reliable information about safe use of the product or service;
- Have a duty to act immediately;
- Must take the appropriate preventive measures and;
- Must inform the authorities.
EU Member States enforcement authorities must:
- Ensure that producers and distributors comply with their obligations;
- Establish appropriate enforcement authorities;
- Provide the necessary resources for them to act efficiently;
- Ensure effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties for infringements.
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 or other groups bearing a special risk. Relevant Local or European standards can be taken into account in assessing the safety of a product.
What is CE marking?
By affixing the CE marking, the manufacturer, its authorized representative, or person placing the product on the market or putting it into service asserts that the item meets all the essential requirements of all applicable been applied. Examples of European Directives requiring CE marking include toy safety, machinery, low-voltage equipment, R&TTE, and EM compatibility. There are about 25 Directives requiring CE marking.
Who enforces the safety policy in Latvia?
Responsible institution for enforcement of the safety regulations in Latvia is Consumer Rights Protection Centre of Latvia.
To whom should complaints about unsafe products be made?
Complaints about unsafe goods should be made to Consumer Rights Protection centre of Latvia via phone +371 67388645, via internet: firstname.lastname@example.org or by personal visit in Kr. Valdemāra street 157, Riga, LV – 1013.
What are the penalties?
The Consumer Rights Protection Centre is entitled to a fine of up to EUR 14,000 (with or without confiscation of goods) for placing on the market, offering or selling goods or services that do not comply with regulatory requirements. Failure to comply with the safety requirements for goods or services, which results in substantial damage to the consumer's health, property or the natural environment, may rise to criminal liability under Section 203 of the Criminal Law.
If a trader wants to place a consumer product on the market, where is possible to get information on product safety requirements?
The experts of Consumer Rights Protection Centre can advise on safety requirements.
Relevant Government Departments take the lead on sectoral responsibilities for safety matters.
Food safety - Food and Veterinary Service
Chemicals, Medicines and Healthcare – State Health Inspection
Safety in the workplace – State Labour inspection