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    January 1, 2024

    The coming European General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR)



    The European General Product Safety Regulation (GPSR), which shall replace the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD, 2001/95/EC,) shall be in force from 13 December 2024. Being a regulation, it will have a direct effect on all Member States without the need for transposing into national legislation.
    Like the GPSD, the GPSR is a legal ‘safety net’ for types of products and safety risks not covered by sectorial European legislation, such as the LVD for safety of electrical products. GPSR contains more extensive and far-reaching provisions than the GPSD. Some provisions complement existing legislation, when certain risks are not covered by the current legislation, such as harm to mental health.


    The GPSR gives more attention to risk assessment. Manufacturers must generally conduct and document risk analyses before marketing their products. F.ex. mental health risk posed by digital connected products should be included, especially for vulnerable consumers like children. 
    It is referred to the international WHO definition ofhealth’: “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
    The term product safety thus gets a broader meaning and dimension, with implications that may shift the legislative landscape. F.ex., providers of social media applications may employ algorithms in mobile phones and tablets intentionally designed to foster addictive behavior, which may have adverse effects on children.

    Also, in the proposed new European Product Liability Directive the definition of ‘product’ explicitly encompasses software and the term ‘damage’ is extended to include “medically recognized harm to psychological health.”
    Regarding product recalls, the GPSR states that consumers should have a choice of min. two of the following remedies: repair, replacement, or a refund, (but only one if the alternatives are impossible or disproportionate, e.g. collecting non-portable products).
    Compared to other European legislation, provisions in the GPRS are very detailed. It also introduces penalties in case of violation, while the rules for sanctions will remain with the Member States.

    The EU Rapid Information System, (previously known as RAPEX), shall be modernized to enable more efficient corrective actions, be easier for the public to be informed, and for consumers to submit complaints.

    Apparently, the new European legislation for product safety will entail requirements and measures which increase the demand on industry and also on authorities.
    Manufacturers and their reputation for product quality and safety will undoubtedly experience stronger exposure.

    Possibly, this may prove to be a turning point for the current negative product safety trend in Europe.


    (The article is primarily based on the November issue of InCompliance and edited by T.Sollie)

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