General Product Safety

This Directive applies in the absence of specific European regulations, governing the safety of certain categories of products or if specific regulations (sectoral) are insufficient. Furthermore, it is to be applied without prejudice to Directive 85/374/EEC concerning liability for defective products.

General safety requirement

The Directive imposes a general safety requirement on any product put on the market for consumers or likely to be used by them, including all products that provide a service. Second-hand products that have antique value or those that need to be repaired are not subject to this requirement.

A safe product is one which poses no threat or only a reduced threat in accordance with the nature of its use and which is acceptable in view of maintaining a high level of protection for the health and safety of persons.

A product is deemed safe once it conforms to the safety provisions provided in European legislation, or, in the absence of such rules, if it complies with the specific national regulations of the Member State in which it is being marketed or sold. The product is also deemed safe if it complies with the European standard established according to the procedures in this Directive. In the absence of such regulations or standards, the product’s compliance is determined according to the following:

  • the voluntary national standards (transposing other relevant European standards), the Commission recommendations (setting out guidelines on the assessment of product safety);
  • the standards of the Member State in which the product is being marketed or sold;
  • the codes of good practice as regards health and safety;
  • the current state of the art;
  • the consumers’ safety expectations.