EU PROSAFE Launches Joint Market Surveillance of LEDs and Other Consumer Goods

Hong Kong exporters may be interested in the new Joint Market Surveillance Action on Consumer Products being undertaken by PROSAFE, the Product Safety Enforcement Forum of Europe, which has been launched in July 2015. 

The Joint Action’s aim is to target non-compliant products in five product categories: acoustic toys, LED and CFL lighting, fireworks, power tools and safety barriers.

Attendants at an EU PROSAFE event (International Product Safety 2014) meeting held in early September this year. (Photo courtesy of EU)

PROSAFE is a non-profit professional organisation for market surveillance authorities and officers from throughout the EU and other EEA Member States. Its primary objective is to improve the safety of users of products and services in Europe. Joint Market Surveillance Actions coordinated by PROSAFE are primarily funded by the European Commission.

The Joint Action serves three different purposes: 

(i) Its aim is to ensure the safety of consumers by identifying and removing unsafe products from the European market;

(ii) It aims to create equal terms and a “level-playing field” for business; and

(iii) It aims to support and increase the free flow of goods on the European market.

Participants of the Joint Action come from all EU and EEA Member States, except for Hungary, Ireland, Spain and Liechtenstein.
The program’s objective overall is to coordinate product-specific surveillance activities in the most efficient manner. The Joint Action’s structure is threefold, consisting of method development activities, project coordination activities and product-specific activities.

The product-specific activities will be of the greatest relevance to Hong Kong exporters, as such activities purport to increase safety in relation to a specific product or product category. The specific product areas envisaged by the Joint Action include acoustic toys, fireworks, power tools, safety barriers and LED and CFL. For the interest of LEDinside readers details regarding LED and CFL are listed below, details of other product areas can be viewed here.

LED (Light Emitting Diode) and CFL (Compact Florescent) lighting

LED and CFL lighting has become increasingly popular over recent years, due to its energy efficiency. It seems that low quality, non-compliant and even dangerous LED and CFL lamps have entered the European market: during a recent market surveillance project it was shown that 86% of 123 LED lamps did not comply with the requirements. Accidents and fires have occurred, compromising the reputation of LED and CFL lighting among consumers. 

There have been more than 90 ‘RAPEX’ notifications for these types of lighting. The Rapid Alert System for dangerous non-food products (RAPEX) allows 31 participating countries (EU and EEA countries) and the European Commission to exchange information on products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers and on the measures taken by these countries to eliminate risks. The activity anticipates the testing of an estimated 40 products.

It should be mentioned that the Joint Action includes four method development activities aimed at further developing the best practices that Member States already have established under the umbrella of PROSAFE:

  • The risk assessment of dangerous products;
  • Developing e-learning materials for market surveillance officers throughout Europe;
  • Continued improvement of market surveillance by the implementation of mutual assessments between market surveillance authorities in various EU and other countries; and 
  • Developing links between the market surveillance authorities and customs authorities, manufacturing nations and overseas regulatory authorities.
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