The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) requires that all products sold in the EU are generally safe to use. Hence, the GPSD can be said to apply to all product categories. However, the GPSD does reference product-specific standards – known as harmonised standards.
In this guide, we list several product categories covered by GPSD harmonised standards, and explain how the GPSD can apply even if no such standards exist for your product.
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What is the General Product Safety Directive?
The General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) establishes essential safety requirements for consumer products, including children’s products, furniture, and electronics. It aims at ensuring that products placed on the EU market are safe for the end-user.
If a product is already regulated by another directive or regulation – such as the Radio Equipment Directive – GPSD only applies to the aspects that aren’t covered by such directives or regulations. That could include flammability and mechanical risks, in the context of the Radio Equipment Directive.
The GPSD outlines general product safety requirements. It also lists so-called harmonised standards, which cover specific safety and compliance requirements for specific products. Hence, harmonised standards provide sort of a ‘compliance blueprint’ consisting of technical criteria that the product must meet – in order to be deemed as safe and therefore GPSD compliant.
For example, soother holder importers and manufacturers can refer to the harmonised standard “EN 12586 – Child care articles – Soother holder – Safety requirements and test methods” to learn what are the specific safety requirements for this product, and comply with them. These requirements might include:
- Mechanical properties
- Substances restrictions
- Electromagnetic compatibility
- Labeling requirements
- Test methods
It is important to understand and apply the requirements of harmonised standards at an early stage (e.g product development stage), as amending product design or other aspects at a later stage, e.g. mass production stage might be difficult or even impossible.
EN standards, including the ones that are harmonised under the GPSD or other directives and regulations, are technical standards drafted and maintained by the:
- CEN (European Committee for Standardization)
- CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization)
- ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute)
EN standards cover a wide range of requirements, from product design to testing methods. Here are some examples of EN standards that have been harmonised under the GPSD:
- EN 581 – General safety requirement for seating and tables for camping
- EN 1312- Performance requirements for Internal blinds
- EN 13209 – Safety requirements and test methods for baby carriers
- EN 13899 – Safety requirements and test methods for roller sports equipment
- EN 14766 – Safety requirements and test methods for mountain bicycles
Harmonised standards do not necessarily cover all consumer products or product features. In the case your product is not covered by any harmonised standard, you are still responsible to ensure product safety, for example, using non-harmonised standards.
Non-harmonised standards might not cover all the requirements set by the GPSD, or may not be up to date. However, such standard can still serve as a starting point to assess product compliance. Here are some examples of the non-harmonised standards:
- Non-harmonised EN standards
- National standards
- ASTM standards
- UL standards
GPSD Product Scope
Even though the GPSD generally applies to consumer products placed in the EU, it only applies to safety aspects that are not covered by a different directive or regulation – applicable to the same product.
As an example, the electrical safety of an AC adapter is covered by the Low Voltage Directive, as the product has an entry voltage higher than 50 Volts. Conversely, the electrical safety of a USB stick falls under the scope of the GPSD, as this aspect is not covered by any other directive or regulation.
For this reason, the GPSD is especially relevant for the category of products there aren’t covered by a specific directive or regulation
- Furniture (mechnical safety)
- Gym equipment (mechanical safety)
- Children’s products (excluding toys)
In the following sections of this guide, we focus on product categories for which there exist EN standards that have been harmonised under the GPSD. We provide examples of relevant standards and products for each category.
Importers and manufacturers should ensure the safety of furniture products, concerning flammability, toxicity, construction, installation, and other aspects. The GPSD provides a list of harmonised standards for different classes of furniture, as shown below.
a. EN 581-1 – Outdoor furniture – Seating and tables for camping, domestic, and contract use – Part 1: General safety requirements
b. EN 1129-1 – Furniture – Foldaway beds – Safety requirements and testing – Part 1: Safety requirements
c. EN 1129-2 – Furniture – Foldaway beds – Safety requirements and testing – Part 2: Test methods
d. EN 1130-1 – Furniture – Cribs and cradles for domestic use – Part 1: Safety requirements
e. EN 1130-2 – Furniture – Cribs and cradles for domestic use – Part 2: Test methods
f. EN 16890 – Children’s furniture – Mattresses for cots and cribs – Safety requirements and test methods
- Foldaway beds
- Children’s mattresses for cots and cribs
Children’s products are, often, heavily regulates as kids are more vulnerable to hazards, such as strangulation, suffocation, and others. Below you find a list of harmonised standards adopted by the GPSD.
a. EN 1273 – Child use and care articles – Baby walking frames – Safety requirements and test methods
b. EN 1400-1 – Child use and care articles – Soothers for babies and young children – Part 1: General safety requirements and product information
c. EN 1466 – Child care articles – Carrycots and stands – Safety requirements and test methods
d. EN 1930 – Child use and care articles – Safety barriers – Safety requirements and test methods
e. EN 12586 – Child care articles – Soother holder – Safety requirements and test methods
f. EN 13209 – Child use and care articles – Baby carriers – Safety requirements and test methods – Part 1: Framed back carriers
g. EN 14344 – Child use and care articles – Child seats for cycles – Safety requirements and test methods
h. EN 14682 – Safety of children’s clothing – Cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing – Specifications
i. EN 16281 – Child protective products – Consumer fitted child resistant locking devices for windows and balcony doors – Safety requirements and test methods
- Children’s soothers
- Baby walking frames
- Carrycots and stands for children
- Children soother holder
- Child seats for cycles
- Children drinking equipment
- Children’s clothing
- Child protective products
Gym equipment can pose severe dangers to the users, for example, lacerations, injuries, and other physical hazards. It‘s important to ensure that the gym equipment is in a safe design at an early stage.
a. EN 913 – Gymnastic equipment – General safety requirements and test methods
b. EN 914 – Gymnastic equipment – Parallel bars and combination asymmetric/parallel bars – Requirements and test methods including safety
c. EN 915 – Gymnastic equipment – Asymmetric bars – Requirements and test methods including safety
d. EN 916- Gymnastic equipment – Vaulting boxes – Requirements and test methods including safety
e. EN 12196 – Gymnastic equipment – Horses and bucks – Functional and safety requirements, test methods
f. EN 12197 – Gymnastic equipment – Horizontal bars – Safety requirements and test methods
g. EN 12346 – Gymnastic equipment – Wall bars, lattice ladders, and climbing frames – Safety requirements and test methods
h. EN 12432 – Gymnastic equipment – Balancing beams – Functional and safety requirements, test methods
i. EN 12655- Gymnastic equipment – Hanging rings – Functional and safety requirements, test methods
j. EN 13219 – Gymnastic equipment – Trampolines – Functional and safety requirements, test methods
k. EN 957-5 – Stationary training equipment – Part 5: Stationary exercise bicycles and upper body crank training equipment, additional specific safety requirements, and test methods
l. EN 957-10 – Stationary training equipment – Part 10: Exercise bicycles with a fixed wheel or without freewheel, additional specific safety requirements, and test methods
- Parallel bars
- Asymmetric bars
- Vaulting boxes
- Horse and bucks
- Horizontal bars
- Wall bars
- Balancing beams
- Hanging rings
- Stationary equipment
The GPSD covers the safety requirement for many different types of bicycles, which can cause severe injury to the user, if they aren’t built according to the necessary safety measures. or other injuries to the body.
a. EN ISO 4210-1-6 – Cycles – Safety requirements for bicycles (Part 1-6)
b. EN ISO 8098 – Cycles – Safety requirements for bicycles for young children
c EN ISO 11243 – Cycles – Luggage carriers for bicycles – Requirements and test methods
d. EN 14764 – City and trekking bicycles – Safety requirements and test methods
e. EN 14766 – Mountain-bicycles – Safety requirements and test methods
f. EN 14781 – Racing bicycles – Safety requirements and test methods
- Children bicycle
- Bicycle luggage carriers
- Mountain bicycles
- Racing bicycles
The most common danger with swimming equipment is drowning. It is crucial to ensure that swimming equipment is manufactured according to robust safety principles.
a. EN 13138 – Buoyant aids for swimming instruction – Part 2: Safety requirements and test methods for buoyant aids to be held
b. EN 13319 – Diving accessories – Depth gauges and combined depth and time measuring devices – Functional and safety requirements, test methods
c. EN 15649-1 – Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water – Part 1: Classification, materials, general requirements, and test methods
d. EN 15649-2 – Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water – Part 2: Consumer information
e. EN 15649-3 – Floating leisure articles for use on and in the water – Part 3: Additional specific safety requirements and test methods for Class A devices
- Buoyant aids
- Diving accessories
- Kite surfing boards
- Floating seats
Electronic products can pose electric shock and burn hazards to the user. Although the electrical safety and other aspects of many electronic products are already covered by another directive such as the Low Voltage Directive, the Radio Equipment Directive, and the EMC Directive, the GPSD still provides safety requirements for products that are not covered by specific directives or regulations, such as low voltage equipment (e.g. wired mouse, laser pen, and more).
a. EN 60065 – Audio, video, and similar electronic apparatus – Safety requirements
b. EN 60950 – Information technology equipment – Safety – Part 1: General requirements
- Computer wires
- USB sticks
- Audio soundcard
Lighters are potential fire hazards. Importers and manufacturers should ensure that the product design is in compliance with the GPSD technical requirement.
a. EN 13869 – Lighters – Child safety requirements for lighters – Safety requirements and test methods
b. EN ISO 1994 – Lighters – Safety specification
- Windproof lighters
- Fuel lighters
- Electric lighter
As we already explained, the GPSD is not limited to the product categories and standards listed above. It provides a general provision on product safety for consumer products to be placed in the EU.
This means that consumer products for which no harmonised standards have been adopted under the directive should still comply with the basic safety requirement set out under the GPSD framework.