What is product safety?
Product safety is the protection of consumers from all types of risks when using a product. For example, toys may not contain hazardous substances or have hazardous shapes. And the battery of rechargeable devices must not get too hot and cause a fire. In the EU, there are rules to ensure that all products on the EU market are safe for consumers. Which rules a product must comply with depends on the product's properties.
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The information on this page gives a general overview of EU product safety legislation. It applies to the European Economic Area (EU member states, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland), and in some cases also to Switzerland and Türkiye. Additional rules may apply to your product in a particular country. It is advisable to check this (or have it checked) before offering a product on the market. You can hire a consultant to do this.
What happens if your product is unsafe?
If you sell a product that does not meet the safety requirements then you run the following risks:
- You have to take the product off the market, recall the product, so no one can buy it anymore.
- You must inform the consumers who have already bought the product and offer repair or their money back.
- You must announce publicly that the product is not compliant.
- You must pay for damages if your product is involved in an accident.
- You will be fined by a supervising authority (toezichthouder).
A recall can cost a lot of money and negatively impact your company's image.
What do you need to do for product safety?
What you need to do for product safety and what you are responsible for depends on your role in the production chain.
First, determine your role
Use this decision tree to determine exactly what role you have. For example, manufacturer, importer or distributor. You can also have several roles at the same time. So, check what your role in the chain is for each product. Is the outcome that you are not a market participant? Then you have no obligations under EU product legislation.
Then follow the checklist
Read the checklist for your role, so you know what you need to do about product safety:
Product safety supervising authorities and inspectorates
There are several product safety supervising authorities and inspectorates in the Netherlands. For each product (group) you may have to deal with different supervising authorities. For example, for plastic toys, you have to deal with the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). For the environmental requirements for the substances from which the toy is made, you have to deal with the Inspectorate for the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT).
These are the supervising authorities for non-food consumer products: