The Safety Gate (formerly called Rapid Alert System, RAPEX) is an information exchange system of the European Community regarding dangerous non-food products.
The Safety Gate enables the rapid exchange of information between EU Member States and the European Commission on dangerous non-food products that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk. The system allows information to be spread very quickly among the national authorities, responsible for product safety in single market countries.
National authorities have the obligation to send warnings to the Safety Gate where they identify risky products. Furthermore, companies can use the Business Gateway to quickly and efficiently warn the national authorities of having placed a product on the market that could prove dangerous. Each report contains information on the type of product, a description of the risk itself and the measures adopted by the economic operator or ordered by the Authority.
Each report is therefore communicated to the authorities of other countries, who adopt their own measures in the event that the dangerous product is present in the relevant national markets. Thanks to the Safety Gate it is possible to follow up on reports with the appropriate interventions, including the withdrawal of products from the market.
Safety Gate: scope and specifications
The Safety Gate system applies to consumer goods such as - for example - toys, electrical equipment, motor vehicles, cosmetic products and various categories of products intended for professional use. Pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and groceries are not covered by the system.
Every year, thousands of dangerous products are reported to the Safety Gate system. The European Commission publishes weekly reports on the most recent reports, available to companies and consumers via email, in their entirety or filtered by certain product categories or specific countries.
Consumers and businesses can use the weekly reports and search function to view hazards associated with different product groups. The system can also be used for check the presence of dangerous products in company warehouses and warehouses; advantageous element for acting promptly, as withdrawing from the market is a very expensive process.
Given the growing diffusion of purchases made on the web, the Commission has also promoted one electronic surveillance tool called “Web crawlers” which helps national authorities detect online offers of unsafe products reported in the Safety Gate. This tool automatically identifies and lists each of these offers, allowing the authorities to trace the supplier and order the actual withdrawal of the products.
Electrical and electronic devices reported to Safety Gate
Among the main results exposed in the most recent annual reports of Safety Gate we find the number of reports, over two thousand, with overall network use constantly growing among its participating countries.
As regards the categories in which the greatest number of reports is identified, the macro-area "electrical appliances and devices” is very present, flanked by the category “toys” and – more recently – by that which concerns the “motor vehicles“.
If for motor vehicles the risks reported are mostly Technical Problems, for toys are focused on the presence of dangerous chemicals and pill batteries. The most common risks associated with electrical appliances, however, concern exposed live parts and overheating problems.
Safety Gate: measures to avoid product reports
For manufacturers, importers and distributors perform and monitor certification tests and procedures correct is the way to guarantee the safety of electrical products. Therefore, preventing products from being reported to the Safety Gate and potentially withdrawn from the market.
As is known, the safety tests of electrical products – and the achievement of the CE marking – they guarantee theirs compliance with safety requirements regarding electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal problems.
In particular, the electrical safety tests – carry forward in a competent laboratory such as Sicom Testing – evaluate and verify the cconstruction characteristics, the reliability of protections, insulation, resistance to stresses of various kinds, taking into consideration all the electrical measures connected to the individual case.
The need for verify quality and safety of electrical products and their components are fully completed in the tests for the certification of products in compliance with European Directives, in performance tests on the products, passing through the evidence of electromagnetic compatibility and for the pretesting of the products, so as to identify any critical issues, to save in economic and production terms.
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