As is known, the CE certification it is an indispensable element for the marketing of certain types of products on the European market. It is defined by the application of standards and directives which certify the conformity of the product with all the provisions of the European Community in terms of health protection, safety and environmental protection.
Obtaining – and maintaining – CE certification presents a number of issues specific obligations for the different economic operators involved. The fulfillment of these obligations - and therefore the conformity of the marking - is assessed by the Member States through notified bodies, capable of carrying out the process of verifying the constancy of conformity of the product with the provisions.
In the event of non-conformity being detected (and the economic operator concerned not taking decisive action to put an end to the non-conformity itself), various scenarios open up for the product and the operators involved in its marketing. One of these is the withdrawal of products from the market.
In the event of failure to comply with the CE certification, in fact, the competent authorities "adopt appropriate measures to limit or prohibit the placing of the product on the market or to guarantee its withdrawal from the market, at the expense of the person responsible for placing the equipment on the market".
Sanctions: construction products
In addition to the adoption of restrictive measures such as the ban on movement and withdrawal, there are financial and custodial sanctions, well defined - in the case of construction products - by Legislative Decree no. 106/2017. The sanctions represented can be categorized as:
- pecuniary criminal sanctions (with minimum and maximum fines);
- criminal custodial sanctions (with provision for arrest);
- joint criminal sanctions (with provision of arrest and fine);
- administrative pecuniary sanctions.
Specifically, the manufacturer that violates the general principles and provisions relating to the use of the CE Marking - and the rules and conditions provided for in Article 9 of Regulation (EU) no. 305/2011 – is punished with an administrative fine ranging from 4,000 euros to 24,000 euros; the same act is punished with imprisonment of up to 6 months and with a fine ranging from 10,000 euros to 50,000 euros if the products in question are intended for structural or fire-fighting use.
Sanctions: electromagnetic compatibility
To regulate other matters compared to Legislative Decree no. 106/2017, we find Art. 15. of Legislative Decree 6 November 2007, n. 194 for the implementation of Directive 2004/108/EC. The article defines the sanctions regarding electromagnetic compatibility of equipment, appliances and systems, outlining that:
• Anyone who places equipment on the market that does not comply with the protection requirements is subject to the administrative sanction of paying a sum from 4,000 euros to 24,000 euros. Anyone who makes modifications to equipment with the required CE marking which results in non-compliance with the protection requirements is subject to the same sanction.
• Anyone who places on the market, markets, distributes in any form or installs equipment which, although compliant with the protection requirements, does not have the required CE marking and technical documentation, is subject to the administrative sanction of paying a sum from 2,000 euros to 12,000 euros.
Furthermore, the sanctions also concern anyone who affixes marks that could be confused with the CE marking (or limit their visibility and readability): in this case the administrative fine amounts to a sum from 1,000 euros to 6,000 euros.
Likewise, anyone who promotes advertising for equipment that does not comply with the provisions of the legislative decree is subject to an administrative fine of a sum from 2,500 euros to 15,000 euros.
The examination of these two regulations - and the focus on the sanctioning aspect of the same - is aimed at encouraging reflection on the need to apply standards and directives in full compliance with the laws. By interpreting the rules incorrectly - with the aim of not subjecting the equipment to all the appropriate conformity checks - one incurs measures which, on an economic as well as productive level, have a decisive impact on the marketing of the products on the market.
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