How to Determine Applicable Product Safety Standards: 5 Methods

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Suggestion: Watch the 15 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

How do you know which product safety standards and labeling requirements apply your product?

Finding information on product regulations, be it a simple t-shirt or a new electronic device, is often the hardest part of the compliance process. In this guide, we list official websites and service providers that can help you find out which regulations apply to your products.

This is covered

  • US Government Websites
  • EU Government Websites
  • Australian Government Websites
  • Online Platforms
  • Testing Companies
  • Compliance Consultants
  • Amazon Seller Central

In addition, you will also learn how lab testing companies and consultants can help you assess mandatory product regulations and standards for your products.

Compliance Checklist

You’re not going to get very far unless you know what to look for using the sources referenced in this guide. While requirements differ depending on the product, age group and country – you should use this universal product compliance checklist when assessing which regulations and standards apply to your product:

1. Confirm mandatory product regulations and directives (e.g. REACH and CPSIA)

2. Confirm applicable product standards (e.g. EN, ASTM and ISO)

3. Confirm applicable labeling requirements (e.g. CE and CPSIA Tracking Label)

4. Confirm applicable documentation/certification requirements (e.g. DoC and CPC)

5. Confirm facility requirements (e.g. GMP and ISO 22000)

Compliance Marks

1. Official Websites

Information on product safety standards, certification procedures, labeling and documentation is publicly available in all developed countries. Although we’ve seen major improvements in the last few years, many government websites are still difficult for the uninitiated to navigate.

Assuming you manage to find what you’re looking for, it’s often even more difficult to interpret the information and apply it to your business. That being said, these government websites serve as a good introduction for understanding the basics.

United States

The CPSC, FDA, FCC and other US Government Agencies operate their own separate websites. As such, there is no official one-stop-shop for product regulatory information in the United States. Therefore, importers and manufacturers are required to search for information across various websites to get a complete picture.

CPSC
  • Products: Toys and children’s products, consumer products, household products
  • Website: www.cpsc.gov
FCC
FDA
  • Products: Food contact materials, medical devices
  • Website: www.fda.gov
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
  • Information: Labeling requirements, other
  • Website: www.ftc.gov
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
  • Information: General importing requirements
  • Website: www.cbp.gov
ASTM

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) is not a government website, but a an organization developing product standards for consumer products in the United States. While ASTM standards are normally voluntary, they serve as a reference point for importers and manufacturers.

That said, some US product regulations, including CPSIA, requires compliance with ASTM.

UL

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) develop product standards for electronics sold in the United States. Similar to ASTM.org, you’ll find a database of UL standards on their website that can also be purchased.

European Union

The European Union’s official website (ec.europa.eu) provides free and accessible information concerning CE marking, food contact materials, REACH and other product regulations.

That said, questions related to EU product regulations and EN standards can only be sent to national authorities in charge of product safety and chemicals compliance.

Links

Australia

Product Safety Australia

Productsafety.gov.au is the go-to website for Australian importers looking for information on mandatory standards covering the following product categories:

  • Textiles
  • Toys
  • Children’s products
  • Baby products
  • Helmets
  • Bicycles
  • Furniture and home products
  • Fitness equipment
  • Sunglasses
  • Vehicle equipment
EESS

The Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) website (www.eess.gov.au) provides information on mandatory electrical safety and EMC standards in Australia.

  • RCM mark
  • Steps for compliance
  • Safety criteria
  • EESS registration process
Standards Australia

Standards.org.au is a searchable database listing all AS/NZS standards developed by Standards Australia. Here you can find both mandatory and voluntary AS/NZS standards, ISO standards and IEC standards for all product categories.

2. Product Compliance Platforms

ProductIP.com

ProductIP.com is an online platform helping importers, exporters and manufacturers ensure compliance with EU product regulations. You can search thousands of products from within their platform, and access detailed requirements lists:

  • List of EN standards and other regulations
  • List of required (and optional) documents
  • List of required (and optional) labels

ProductIP.com is easy to use and affordable, even for small businesses. It’s really a no brainer for any business looking to sell in the European Union.

Platform Features
  • Requirements lists
  • Technical file manager
  • Compliance reviews
  • Chemicals management
  • Label checks

CE-check.eu

CE-check.eu a digital all-in-one solution helping importers, exporters and manufacturers to ensure compliance with CE marking directives. Not only can this platform help you in assessing mandatory CE directives and EN standards, but also the actual implementation of the CE compliance procedure.

They have various small business friendly pricing plans, and even a free version.

Platform Features
  • Free version
  • Identifying CE Directives and Standards
  • CE Compliance Assessment
  • Creating a Technical file
  • Creating a Declaration of Conformity

3. Product Testing Companies

Product testing companies can only offer a quotation once they have assessed applicable product regulations for a certain product. In addition, they also tend to list all required tests as part of the quotation.

Quotation Sample

Lab test quote

While they obviously charge for lab testing, the quotation is always free. In other words, asking for a lab test quotation is the closest thing you’ll get to a free compliance assessment.

This is what you need to provide before requesting a quotation
  • Product type
  • Category
  • Product image (recommended)
  • Age group
  • Manufacturing country
  • Consumer country

List of testing companies

  • Bureau Veritas
  • SGS
  • Intertek
  • TUV
  • QIMA

4. Compliance Consultants

While you a list of product standards and corresponding tests is a good start, it doesn’t do much to help you understand how the practical compliance process works.

Making a product compliant in practice requires an understanding of technical safety requirements, how to create correct label files and documentation, and even production facility requirements.

While online platforms and government websites can take you a long way, support from a professional is often the only what it takes to connect the dots.

Here’s how a consultant can help you

1. Confirm applicable product safety standards

2. Create label files and documentation

3. Technical/design product compliance review

4. Book lab test

5. Factory audit (e.g. GMP)

5. Amazon Seller Central

Planning to sell on Amazon? Then you should take a close look at the Amazon seller central to find assess which standards and other requirements apply to your product. Amazon requires that all products sold on its platform are compliant with mandatory regulations in each respective market.

That said, Amazon sets the bar even higher for some products, meaning that additional requirements, such as ISO 9001 factory certification, is required.

Electronic Product Compliance in Practice: By Fabien Gaussorgues

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fabien sofeast

Electronic product compliance goes beyond listing safety standards and paperwork. Ensuring compliance when importing, exporting or manufacturing electronic devices starts at the drawing board.

In this article, Fabien Gaussorgues of Sofeast Limited in Shenzhen, shares his profound technical expertise and explains what electronic product compliance really means in practice.

How do you normally assess which electronics standards and regulations apply to a product?

To generalize the very start of a New Product Specifications Development, the initial design requirements document would show what problem the product is going to solve and high level product expectations that will be experienced directly or indirectly by the end user. This document would also have design constraints such as size, weight, and major functionalities.

So now we have a starting point, it is time to start designing the product, this needs to be broken down into different components and documents such as:

  • Mechanical structure (e.g. a plastic case)
  • Electronic design
  • Assembly
  • Hardware requirements
  • User Interface (UI/UX if required)
  • System integration if product is integrated
  • Material considerations like recycling
  • Safety regulations (RoHS, CE, FCC)

You also need to consider the ease of manufacture and assembly at this stage, which in turn goes hand in hand with cost optimization. Continue reading Electronic Product Compliance in Practice: By Fabien Gaussorgues

European Union Product Labeling Requirements: A Beginner’s Guide

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Europe product labeling example

Planning to import or export products to the European Union? In this guide, we explain what you must know about CE marking, WEEE, textiles labels, toy age warning, tracking ID and other mandatory labeling requirements in Europe.

You will also learn which file formats to use when creating your label files and how to instruct your supplier.

Suggestion: Watch the 15 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

CE Marking

CE mark

The CE mark indicates that the product is compliant with all applicable ‘CE directives’, such as RoHS, EN 71 Toy Safety Directive and the Low Voltage Directive.

The CE mark is mandatory for all products falling within the scope of one such directive. Further, the CE mark should not be affixed on a product that is not covered by a ‘CE directive’. Continue reading European Union Product Labeling Requirements: A Beginner’s Guide

Packaging Materials Regulations in the European Union

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EU packaging materials rules

Product compliance extends beyond the product itself, to the packaging materials used to protect and display the product. In this guide, we cover the essentials that all importers and exporters selling in the European Union must know about product packaging materials regulations.

This is covered

  • Directive 94/62/EC
  • REACH
  • Food Packaging Regulations
  • Labeling Requirements
  • Packaging Lab Testing

What is defined as a packaging material?

Packaging materials include both product packaging used for display and customer experience purposes, as well as protective packaging materials such as export cartons. However, in this guide, we primarily focus on the former category.

Product Packaging Examples

  • Watch boxes
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic packaging
  • Food and beverage packaging

Packaging labeling

Note that packaging labeling requirements depend on the product, rather than the packaging material. Various packaging labels, including CE marking and WEEE marking, are covered in this guide.

Food Contact Materials

Additional regulations apply specifically to food and beverage packaging materials.

Continue reading Packaging Materials Regulations in the European Union

Sunglasses & Eyewear Regulations in the European Union: A Complete Guide

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Sunglasses

Sunglasses and other eyewear imported, manufactured or sold in the European Union must comply with a range of safety standards, chemical regulations, and labeling requirements.

This is covered

  • PPE Directive
  • EN Standards
  • REACH
  • Declaration of Conformity
  • Technical file
  • CE Marking

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive

Sunglasses and eyewear products are categorized as Personal protective equipment and under-regulated in EU countries. Before placing any sunglasses and eyewear products on the EU market, sit is Mandatory that the products are compliant with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) directive.

Noted that the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC has been repealed and replaced with EU 2016/245.

PPE Risk Categories

PPE products are categorized into three categories:

Category I: Includes PPE product that is intended to protect users.For example:

  • Sunglasses
  • Eye protectors for dust protection

Category II: Includes risks other than those listed in Categories I and III.

Category III: Includes PPE products that may cause serious consequences such as death or irreversible damage to health. For example:

  • Eye protectors for use at high temperatures
  • Eye protectors for use at extremely intensive IR radiation

Continue reading Sunglasses & Eyewear Regulations in the European Union: A Complete Guide

Clothing and Textiles Regulations in the European Union: A Complete Guide

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Suggestion: Watch the 15 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

About to import or export clothing or other textiles for sale in the European Union? In this guide we cover everything you must know about the following:

  • REACH
  • Laboratory testing
  • EU Children’s Clothing Regulations
  • EU Textiles Labeling Rules

REACH: Chemicals & Heavy Metals

In general, REACH applies to all products including apparel and textiles products. In fact, hundreds of chemicals were used during the process of textile manufacturing. For example, sulfuric acid was used for clothes finishing. Therefore, it is essential to follow the REACH regulations in order to avoid harms to people. Continue reading Clothing and Textiles Regulations in the European Union: A Complete Guide