CE Marking and RAPEX

CE Marking and RAPEX

30th April 2015

While we’re proud of our right to affix the CE Marking to our products to demonstrate that they comply with European legislation, we’re well aware of the fact that the CE Mark is sometimes abused and that some products bear counterfeit CE Markings.  We’ve already shown you how to spot these counterfeit CE Marks in a bid to keep all of our readers well informed and up to date with what’s happening in the UK construction industry. 

The European Community has a rapid alert system that is used to share unsafe products in order to prevent or restrict the marketing and use of any products that pose a risk to health and safety of consumers.  The system is called RAPEX and enables 31 participating countries (EU countries, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and the European Commission to exchange information on non-food products that may present a risk.  The Rapid Alert System was established by the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD) in 2004.  The system also covers products that pose a risk to the health and safety of professional users and other public interests protected by relevant EU legislation (for example, environmental and security risks). 

As the national authorities within the EU take measures to prevent or restrict the marketing and use of dangerous products, producers and distributors, the European Commission publishes a weekly overview of the latest alerts.  The alerts include:

  • Information on a product identifying the risk and any measure already taken in the notifying authority
  • A list of other countries where the notified product has been found on the market and any relevant measures taken
  • Notifications on products that pose serious risk and less serious risk
  • Notifications on professional products and on products that pose a risk to other public interests

RAPEX relies on close cooperation between the Commission and the national authorities of participating members.  When a product is identified as dangerous, the responsible business or the national authority will take measure to eliminate the risk, including:

  • Withdrawing the product from the market
  • Recalling the product from consumers
  • Issuing warnings.

Once a product has been identified as unsafe, the European Commission shares this information with other national contact points in participating countries and publishes an overview of the dangerous products and action taken.  The RAPEX national contact points ensure that the responsible authorities check whether that particular product is available on their market and, if so, the authorities take the necessary steps to eliminate the risk.

As we’ve already seen, the CE Marking is very similar to a logo used for Chinese Export and a significant number of products imported from China to the EU bear this logo which has led to confusion.  Because of this, a special information exchange system between the EU and China has been created to enable the rapid exchange of product information.  The European Commission provides the Chinese authorities with information on consumer products originating in China that have been banned or withdrawn from the European market and notified via the RAPEX system.  Chinese authorities investigate all of these notifications and, where necessary, establish measures designed to prevent or restrict further export of those products to the European Union.