One of the key goals of the European single market is the free circulation of goods and services. In this respect it must be ensured that all products fulfil specific requirements in the area of safety. These requirements are defined in a uniform and binding manner for all EU member states in so-called EC directives. These directives apply to all member states, which have to implement them in their national law.
Since 1985, the EC directives have been developed according to the so-called New Approach; so far, some 26 European directives have been passed which require European standards for their implementation. These are indispensable because the EC directives do not formulate any detailed technical specifications, and only specify general requirements which primarily refer to protecting the safety and health of the users. In this respect, the results to be achieved and the hazards and risks that are to be prevented are defined without, at the same time, specifying the required technical solutions. These are found in the so-called harmonised standards, which serve as a source of support to manufacturers for the risk assessment and with the implementation of the general requirements. If products are designed and manufactured according to these standards, their compliance with the relevant general requirements of the respective EU directive is presumed (presumption of conformity). These European standards are uniformly implemented in every EU and EFTA nation state within the scope of their national standards systems.
All Member States of the European Union were previously required to publish the references of those national standards which transpose harmonised standards. The announcement of the references to many directories no longer takes place in the Federal Gazette. As a result, the list of these harmonised standards is no longer published on BAuA's website, but instead referred to with a link to the latest respective publication in the Official Journal of the EU. The exception is the list of the General Product Safety Directive, which will continue to be published on BAuA's website.
The following directories and references (available on our German Website) contain national and European standards as well as technical specifications with requirements pertaining to products regarding the warranty of safety and health and specifying the basic requirements of the appropriate EC directives as well as the individual regulations of the Product Safety Act which serve to implement them in national law.
The following therefore applies: If you configure your product according to these standards or use a product that is configured according to these standards, you can assume that the basic requirements intended by the legislator are fulfilled. It is necessary to remember that standards are not obligatory by nature and that their application is voluntary. It is generally possible to guarantee the safety level required by the appropriate directive on an alternative basis. In the event of damage, however, the burden of proof will then be with the person who decided on a configuration solution which was not in keeping with the standards.
© Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health