New European forum to get tough on safety of products
Prosafe, which stands for Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe, is a non-profit organisation for market surveillance authorities and officers from the European Economic Area. The main objective of Prosafe is to improve the safety of users of products and services in Europe.
Prosafe has launched a new joint market surveillance action addressing lawn mowers, battery chargers, childcare items and fireworks. This joint action will involve 19 member states, who will work together to sample, test and remove dangerous products from the European market.
Malta, through the Technical Regulations Division within the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority, is a participant.
The four categories of products were chosen because they may pose serious risks to consumers if the necessary precautions and safety measures are not applied. Lawn mowers are among the most dangerous products, as they are powerful, sometimes very heavy and employ sharp-cutting blades.
Battery chargers are targeted because Rapex notifications clearly indicate there are safety problems with some of these products. Furthermore, chargers are a common possession in most European households, as they are needed for mobile phones, music players, toys and other electronic gadgets.
Childcare items focused on by the joint action are baby bathing products and wheeled child conveyances.
The prime users of these products are babies and very young children, therefore we are talking about vulnerable consumers unable to judge any risk – so the products need to be made to the highest safety standards.
The fourth category is fireworks. Across Europe thousands of accidents are caused every year, even though fireworks intended for consumers should be safe.
Besides carrying out joint market surveillance actions, Prosafe also develops best practices to ensure product safety according to the General Product Safety Directive.
These best practices include, among others, the risk assessment of dangerous products; e-learning materials for market surveillance officers throughout Europe and mutual assessments between market surveillance authorities.
Prosafe joint action has also been set the task of establishing a European Lead Authority System by preparing a protocol for practical cooperation between European market surveillance authorities and pan-European businesses.
Prosafe is active in developing links between market surveillance and customs authorities, manufacturing nations and overseas regulatory authorities.
For more information, call the Technical Regulations Division on 2395 2000.
Ms Vella is senior information officer, Office for Consumer Affairs, Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority.