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New EU decision on Toy Safety Standard Published

On 23 July 2019, Commission Implementing Decision 2019/1254 was published in the Official Journal. The Decision concerns harmonised standards on the safety of toys which, in turn, supports Directive 2009/48/EC, the framework law of the European Union on toy safety.

Hong Kong companies selling toys to EU consumers will likely be well-versed with the requirements of EU Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys. It is stipulated there that, should toy be in conformity with EU harmonised standards or parts thereof, then they will be deemed to be in conformity with the corresponding essential legal obligations that are set out in the toy safety Directive. The aspects of safety dealt with in the Directive include safety against choking, harmful chemicals, fire and mechanical problems. 

The latest Decision (2019/1254) recalls that, by letter M/445 of 9 July 2009, the European Commission made a request to the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation (CENELEC) for the drafting of new and the revision of existing harmonised standards in support of Directive 2009/48/EC. Directive 2009/48/EC lays down, in point 11 of Part I of Annex II thereto, specific safety requirements for so-called “activity toys”.

Hong Kong sellers may know that CEN and CENELEC are international non-profit associations and are officially recognized as European Standardization Organizations (alongside ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute). CEN, CENELEC and their national members and committees work jointly to develop and define standards that are considered necessary by market actors and/or to support the implementation of European legislation. CEN's national members are the National Standardization Bodies (NSBs) of the 28 EU countries, the Republic of North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey plus three countries of the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Norway and Switzerland). There is one member per country.

Decision 2019/1254 notes that trampolines are toys for domestic use in which the support structure remains stationary while the activity is taking place, and which are primarily intended for children to perform the activity of jumping. Therefore, they are activity toys within the meaning of Article 3 point (21) of Directive 2009/48/EC.

On the basis of the request set out in letter M/445 of 9 July 2009, CEN revised harmonised standard EN 71-14:2014+A1:2017 on trampolines for domestic use, the reference to which has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union, in order to also ensure the safety of in-ground (‘buried’) trampolines that are increasingly being placed on the European market. This resulted in the adoption of harmonised standard EN 71-14:2018 on trampolines for domestic use. Instead of submitting the buried trampolines for type examination by a Notified Body, testing according to this new standard can give presumption of conformity to Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys.

The European Commission, together with CEN, has assessed whether harmonised standard EN 71-14:2018 on trampolines for domestic use drafted by CEN complies with the request set out in M/445 of 9 July 2009.

Harmonised standard EN 71-14:2018 has been found to satisfy the requirements which it aims to cover and which are set out in Directive 2009/48/EC. It is therefore deemed appropriate by the European Commission to publish the reference of that standard in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Thus, Harmonised standard EN 71-14:2018 replaces harmonised standard EN 71-14:2014+A1:2017. It is, therefore, necessary to withdraw the reference to that standard from the Official Journal of the European Union.

In order to afford toy manufacturers sufficient time to adapt their products to the revised specifications in harmonised standard EN 71-14:2018, it is also deemed necessary to defer the withdrawal of the reference to harmonised standard EN 71-14:2014+A1:2017.

Compliance with a harmonised standard confers a presumption of conformity with the corresponding essential requirements set out in Union harmonisation legislation from the date of publication of the reference of such standard in the Official Journal of the European Union. The new EU Decision has entered into force on the date of its publication, namely, 23 July 2019.

In short, Article 1 of the new Decision states that the reference to the harmonised standard on the safety of toys drafted in support of Directive 2009/48/EC, listed in Annex I to the Decision, is published in the Official Journal.

The reference to the harmonised standard on the safety of toys drafted in support of Directive 2009/48/EC, listed in Annex II to the Decision, will be withdrawn from the Official Journal of the European Union as from the date set out in that Annex, namely, as from 22 January 2020.

CEN standards can be purchased for what is usually a fairly nominal fee. Neither CEN nor CENELEC distribute or sell standards themselves. Instead, standards can be obtained from a CEN member or affiliate. Please visit the website of the CEN national members for their contact details and other useful information.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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