Role and responsibilities of BAuA in the context of product safety
Safe work necessitates safe work equipment, and BAuA therefore promotes the safe design of products. Effective market surveillance is necessary to ensure compliance with product safety requirements, and BAuA supports the federal states in these efforts.
© Uwe Völkner, Fotoagentur FOX
Both in the workplace and in our day-to-day lives, we use many different everyday items and technical work equipment. To protect our safety and health, it is essential that products be fully developed, well thought-out and properly tested and, as far as possible, inherently safe and user-friendly.
In Germany, this goal - achieving safe work equipment and products - is supported primarily through the implementation of the various European directives for technical products into the Product Safety Act (ProdSG) and the associated ordinances, which regulate the safety characteristics of everything from toys to large-scale machinery.
Numerous products fall under the scope of the Product Safety Act (ProdSG) in Germany, whose total annual trade volume of over €1.5 trillion makes it Europe's largest individual market. Only through effective market surveillance is it possible to protect products' consumers from risks to their safety and health. At the same time, market surveillance coordinated at the European level reinforces fair competition within the single market and therefore the competitiveness of all honest economic operators.
The Product Safety Act (ProdSG) tasks BAuA with assisting the authorities responsible for market surveillance in the federal states with this work. This also includes providing them with information on the safety of everyday items and work equipment. Furthermore, BAuA actively participates in setting guidelines and standardisation with a view to further improving product safety. The pages below provide those involved in market surveillance, as well as manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers, traders, safety specialists, commercial purchasers and non-commercial buyers (consumers), with important information on the safety of their products in Germany.
In the "Dangerous products in Germany" ("Gefährliche Produkte in Deutschland") database, BAuA publishes product recalls, product warnings, prohibition orders and other information relating to dangerous individual products. The information originates from the EU rapid alert system RAPEX, in which BAuA also participates. This system is used to exchange information from Member States relating to dangerous or potentially dangerous consumer goods.
In addition to market surveillance, BAuA also works to ensure that safety is already taken into account in the design of work equipment. To this end, limits, parameters, and measurement and assessment procedures are identified and incorporated into the standardisation process. Safety- and health-related requirements are integrated directly into the digital tools of modern product development to ensure that they are actually considered in the design process.
The interaction between people and smart products or work equipment is an extensive and complex matter - and this is especially true for the field of product safety. Adaptive (smart) systems using artificial intelligence require the clarification of the manufacturers’ responsibility from an ethical, social and legal perspective. The goal pursued by BAuA is to ensure that those devices also comply with product safety, and that legal certainty exists for manufacturers and end users alike. At the same time, digitally available human body measures can make safe product design more efficient and accurate. BAuA is developing concepts and computer-based methods (e.g. virtual anthropometry) to make such data usable in the field of safe product design - especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.
For this purpose, we will be pleased to provide you with useful working aids and materials.