September 8, 2023
By Silvia Lai, global technical leader, UL Solutions
On May 23, 2023, the European Commission published Regulation (EU) 2023/988 on general product safety, also known as the General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR).
The new regulation will replace the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) 2001/95/EC after a transitional period that will end on Dec. 13, 2024.
The Directive 2001/95/EC has been reviewed and updated in light of:
- The developments related to new technologies (e.g., interconnectivity, cybersecurity and AI)
- The increasing use of online selling
- The need to ensure consistency with developments in union harmonization legislation and standardization legislation
- The better functioning of product safety recalls
- The need for a clearer framework for food-imitating products hitherto regulated by Council Directive 87/357/EEC
The new regulation applies to products placed or made available on the European market, whether new, used, repaired or reconditioned, and it covers every kind of product, whether or not it is interconnected to other items, supplied or made available, which is intended for consumers or is likely, under reasonably foreseeable conditions, to be used by consumers even if not intended for them.
Among other changes, the new regulation provides:
- Clear identification of economic operators (manufacturer, authorized representative, importer, distributor and fulfillment service provider) and their duties, including obligations that apply in case of distance sales.
- New and detailed rules for providers of online marketplaces that shall identify their single point of contact for the Safety Gate Portal and also for consumer communication.
- Improved and more detailed safety requirements and aspects for assessing the safety of products, that includes, among others:
- The categories of consumers using the product, in particular by assessing the risk for vulnerable consumers such as children, older people and persons with disabilities, as well as the impact of gender differences on health and safety.
- The appearance of the product where it is likely to lead consumers to use the product in a way different to what it was designed for, and in particular where a product resembles a foodstuff product, although neither designed nor intended for use by children, is likely to be used by children or resembles an object commonly recognized as appealing to or intended for use by children.
- The need for the manufacturer to carry out a risk analysis and draw up technical documentation containing at least a general description of the product and its essential characteristics relevant for assessing its safety and, where appropriate, an analysis of the possible risks related to the product and the solutions adopted to eliminate or mitigate such risks, including the outcome of any reports related to tests conducted and the list of any relevant European standards applied to meet the general safety requirement.
- Establishment of necessary tools for national authorities, thus stepping up their enforcement powers.
With deep expertise in the safety of consumer products, UL Solutions offers a comprehensive portfolio of services for retailers, private labels and manufacturers who need to evaluate their products for compliance with safety requirements and how the new regulation will impact their processes in evaluating compliance. UL Solutions also supports training activities for retailers, private labels and manufacturers who want to know more about the new regulation.
Regulation (EU) 2023/988 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 May 2023 on general product safety, amending Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Directive (EU) 2020/1828 of the European Parliament and the Council, and repealing Directive 2001/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Council Directive 87/357/EEC
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