Planned changes to the Product Safety Act

Philipp Reusch

The new Market Surveillance Regulation, Regulation (EU) 2019/1020, will take effect in all EU member states on 16 July 2021. To implement this Regulation, German lawmakers are currently drafting a Market Surveillance Act which is to apply to products, i.e. including non-harmonized products which were previously subject to the Product Safety Act.

In an effort to consolidate these competing statutes, the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has presented a bill which, as of 24 September 2020, provides for three key changes:

First, the provisions of the Product Safety Act which conflict with those of the new law will be removed from the Product Safety Act. Changes will also be made to the provisions concerning the recognition of GS (safety inspection) marks and the marketing of hazardous products can now be prohibited or restricted by Ordinance. 

In addition, the Product Safety Act is to be revised in such a way as to take out the provisions which do not relate to product safety, but rather to the safe operation of installations. Unlike the provisions relating to product safety, these provisions do not apply to manufacturers or importers, but rather to operators of installations. As a result, a new law is to be enacted concerning installations which require surveillance and the Industrial Safety Ordinance is to be revised so that it conforms to this new law. The Industrial Safety Ordinance (PDF) defines rules for the operation of installations in addition to rules for the supply of work equipment by the employer.

These changes will not create any new requirements for economic operators at this time. Nevertheless, developments should be monitored. It remains to be seen whether and to what extent the bill will be adopted in this form and enacted into law.

[November 2020]