We help you with buying safe products
Before buying and using a product, find out about its safety characteristics. We assist you in this process: with up-to-the-minute news about unsafe products, with statistical insights, and with appropriate points of contact.
Trust in economic operators and in the domestic market can be maintained only if it is clear that products destined for sale are safe and not harmful to health. Taking suitable measures to strengthen this trust is one of the important tasks facing the European Union (EU), all Member States and the market surveillance authorities of the German Federal States and Federal Government. The aim is to guarantee the highest possible level of protection for all citizens of the EU.
Today, the EU already enjoys a relatively high level of product safety. This is thanks in equal part to the numerous legislative provisions for various product groups and to the work of the market surveillance authorities. The latter ensure that all involved parties play by the rules of the game within the domestic market. One such rule is that the corresponding economic operators must provide not only authorities, but also commercial customers and consumers, with timely and comprehensive information about unsafe and potentially dangerous products.
To this end, all EU Member States are required to create corresponding infrastructure to ensure the rapid, secure and reliable flow of information. Against this backdrop, a corresponding information system performs various roles and tasks within the context of product safety and is accessible to the full range of stakeholders.
In the system, the economic operators (manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers, distributors) are legally required to inform the authorities of safety deficiencies in their products. If there is certainty or evidence to suggest that a product could pose a risk to the health and safety of third parties, manufacturers are required to issue product recalls and product warnings. In addition, the market surveillance authorities can order product recalls or withdrawals of products. They can also prohibit products from being made available on the market if they pose a serious risk and rapid intervention is necessary.
Furthermore, end users can notify the market surveillance authorities of dangerous products, for example using the internet-supported information and communication system for pan-European market surveillance (ICSMS):
In addition, if you contact us, we will be happy to put you in touch with the competent authority.
On the following pages, we also provide current notifications regarding dangerous products, as well as information on product safety.
The Product Safety Commission advises the Federal Government on questions pertaining to product safety
The Product Safety Commission is founded on section 27 of the Product Safety Act (ProdSG) and advises the Federal Government on product safety issues. It is employed by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
The Commission includes experts from the market surveillance authorities, the conformity assessment bodies, the statutory accident insurers, the German Institute for Standardisation (DIN), the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety and Standardisation (KAN), employers' associations, trade unions and related associations, in particular those of the manufacturers, distributors and consumers. The activities of the commission are managed by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA).
For further information please refer to our German Website.
Dipl.-Ing. Andreas Dlugi
Unit 2.1 "Basics of Product Safety"
Safer products on the market
According to the German Product Safety Act (ProdSG), BAuA performs a number of tasks within the framework of internal market law and product safety. It is an important interface between the market surveillance authorities of the federal states, the Federal Government and in Europe.
As a national RAPEX contact point, BAuA ensures the exchange of information between the market surveillance authorities, the European Commission and the Member States. It ensures the national processes and the legal implementation of the RAPEX procedure as part of its quality assurance measures.
In addition, BAuA offers the general public a comprehensive information service. It announces official announcements and announcements from the economic operators, e.g. via product recalls. To this end, it operates a central product safety portal.
In the context of its general research mission, BAuA pre-emptively determines and assesses safety risks and health risks associated with the use of products. In individual cases, it carries out risk assessments of products in consultation with the market surveillance authorities.
BAuA conducts the business of the Product Safety Commission (AfPS), which advises the Federal Government on product safety issues.
In addition to standards, BAuA promulgates standards and technical specifications, which the AfPS has determined. It publishes GS bodies and approved inspection bodies according to ProdSG and BetrSichV.
Since 2010, BAuA has made public more than 1.200 recalls of unsafe products.
Every day manufacturers warn of possible dangers of their products. At the same time, each responsible manufacturer should carry out solid, detailed recall planning prior to such a product recall and establish a recall management.
Since 2010, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) has announced more than 1.200 recalls of unsafe products in the Product Safety Portal www.rueckrufe.de - and the frequency is still increasing. This did not only concern companies with a dubious reputation or products, but also those with a solid quality management. It was and always is about the organisation of the return of a product provided to the end user, in a recall.
Product recalls need absolutely not have any negative impact on the company's reputation. It is rather much more appreciated by consumers if a company is aware of its responsibilities and values the safety and health of its customers. In this respect, product recalls can have a positive effect on the image of the company in the public eye. Anyone who communicates mistakes voluntarily and transparently and also offers consumer-friendly solutions as soon as possible, demonstrates responsibility and gains trust.
The causes for the continuous increase in product recalls are manifold: On the one hand, legislators have clarified the obligations of manufacturers in the event that risks arise from their products. On the other hand, the social importance of consumer protection is rising. Accordingly, companies and consumers are expecting a higher level of safety and health protection.
As a result of this development, the companies have introduced extensive quality control systems, increasing the likelihood of discovering faulty products. The keeping of complaints and accident books and the carrying out of risk assessments are important instruments of risk management, in addition to regular, planned random checks.
The main responsibility for the safety of a product lies with the manufacturer. §6 of the ProdSG obliges them to eliminate any safety risk posed by a product they have made available on the market. How they achieve this goal is initially up to them.
As options, the following corrective measures are available:
In addition, the manufacturer must inform the market surveillance authority as soon as he knows or suspects that a product he manufactures poses a risk to users' safety and health.
The manufacturer must carefully weigh the pros and cons before initiating a product recall in the event of a defective product. In principle, he must check whether the absence of recall poses a risk to the health or life of users or third parties.
The greater the probability of personal injury, the more seriously the manufacturer should do his duty and consequently remove the dangerous product from the market. In addition, the person using the product should also be taken into consideration. A recall is almost absolutely necessary if the product is primarily intended for end users or even children. A warning may be sufficient if the product is used by professionals.
In principle, precautions and measures must be appropriate in order to effectively eliminate risks to the safety and health of persons.
Market surveillance authorities have different possibilities of intervention to make manufacturers and product managers comply with their obligations to customers and assess the necessity of a recall based solely on objective reasons.
The relevant market surveillance authority may order appropriate measures in the event that a manufacturer does not fulfil his responsibility, for example the recall of the product concerned. In addition, a fine may be imposed where the competent authorities have not been informed, not correctly, not in full or not in due time.
The latter does not look too good for the corporate image. This is why it is better to react fast and to handle the situation correctly. In order to make this possible, it is advisable to set up a recall team in good time.
Conclusion: Good recall management facilitates collaboration with the authorities.
© Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health