National market surveillance programme of Slovak Trade Inspection
National market surveillance programme of Slovak Trade Inspection
(within its competencies)
Since the 1st of January the Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93 is directly applicable in all Member States.
With reference to the article 18 paragraph 5 of this Regulation Member States shall establish, implement and periodically update their market surveillance programmes. Member States shall draw up either a general market surveillance programme or sector specific programmes, covering the sectors in which they conduct market surveillance.
Following this obligation Slovak Trade Inspection (“STI”), as a market surveillance authority of consumer’s products on national market, is publishing its general and sector market surveillance programme within its competencies.
General Market Surveillance of consumer products programme
This general market surveillance programme was drawn up according to the article 18 paragraph 5 of the Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council setting out the requirements for accreditation and market surveillance relating to the marketing of products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 339/93 (hereafter referred to as „Regulation 765/2008“).
In order to ensure effective market surveillance, aimed at guaranteeing a high level of consumer health and safety protection Member States shall ensure establishment, periodical updating and implementation of sector surveillance programmes by categories of products or risks and the monitoring of surveillance activities, findings and results also according to article 9 Directive 2001/95/EC of the European parliament and of the Council on general product safety („GPSD).
2. General objectives
The objective of the programme is to ensure that products placed on the market meet the requirements of Community harmonisation legislation. This may be achieved by verifying their safety, testing and checking if products are marked by warnings on the risks they may present.
If there is demonstrable or already approved suspicion that product does not meet requirements of harmonization legislation, particularly that it is not safe, it is necessary to take appropriate measures or to assure that economic operators will take appropriate measures and to inform all persons which might be exposed to the risk posed by the product.
3. Structure and competencies
The STI is state administration authority linked to state budget of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak republic. It is independent in its control and decision-making activities. It consists from the headquarters (The Central Inspectorate) with seat in Bratislava and 8 regional subordinated inspectorates (regional scope corresponds with actual territorial division of Slovak republic). It has 262 employees, out of them 150 are inspectors performing inspections in field. It has no test laboratory; it pays for samples taken from the market as well as for test carried out by notified bodies.
Its responsibilities are governed by legal act under which the STI is general market surveillance authority in the area of consumer protection of non-food products other than cosmetics, tobacco products, products intended to come into contact with foodstuffs and medical devices on the internal market.
Scope of the STI:
- The STI is a body supervising the safety of non-food consumer products according to GPSD, searching and notifying products with identified serious risk to/from the Rapex system,
- The STI is a surveillance authority for consumer products falling under New Approach Directives. It controls the CE marking, if necessary, documentation related to the conformity assessment and compliance of products properties with requirements of New Approach Directives. It is the surveillance authority in the area of contracting products,
- The STI is a body controlling the observance of directives of the EP and of the Council (EC) in the area of protection of consumer economic interests.
The Central Inspectorate of the STI is a legal person. For purposes of administrative proceedings the regional inspectorates of STI are bodies of the first instance, the Central Inspectorate of STI is body of the second instance.
4. Inspection system
STI is carrying out proactive and reactive controls and border controls under Regulation 339/93 (since 01.01.2010 under the Regulation 765/2008). Control actions are carried out at international, national or regional level.
Proactive inspections are aimed at:
- control of products due to the changes/ amendments of harmonisation legislation- such actions are often accompanied by information campaigns,
- monitoring a range/characteristics of products which have not been the subjects of consumers/ businesses complains yet or which were published in the Rapex system in order to notify a new risk.
Reactive controls are focused on inspection of products:
- which are the subject of repeated complaints of consumers/ operators/ other organisations,
- when the risk/ non-compliance with harmonisation legislation is confirmed often and repeatedly within STI actions,
- which are reported by customs according to existing harmonisation legislation,
- which have been notified to the Rapex system by another Member State (searching of dangerous products on the national market)
Border controls are carried out on basis of reports of customs authorities under either the current harmonisation legislation or on the basis of the Agreement on Cooperation between the STI and the Customs Directorate of the year 2001 (as amended in 2004, 2006 and 2008).
Controls carried out at international level are carried out on basis of the STI participation in international projects or in cooperation with other Member States. The focus, scope, procedures and objectives are agreed at international level. Controls are managed centrally, while the coordinator at the national level is the Central Inspectorate of the STI. The results are published internationally and nationally.
Controls carried out at national level are performed as mentioned above (proactive, reactive and border controls). The focus, scope, procedures and objectives are managed centrally while the coordinator is the Central Inspectorate of the STI which provides methodological support for regional inspectorates. The results are published nationally.
Controls carried out at regional level are carried out in response to specific regional problem. The focus, scope, procedures and objectives are set up at regional level and are summarized in a written guideline for inspectors. In some cases, the collaboration with the Central Inspectorate of the STI (sampling, risk assessment, product classification) is necessary.
Inspections are managed and coordinated by regional inspectorates. The results are published nationally.
5. Risk management and risk assessment
The STI carries out the risk management and risk assessment at several levels.
Risk level of products
The STI keeps the list of hazardous products which are repeatedly failing the requirements of harmonisation legislation. Inspections focused on these groups are repeated also with regard to the seasonality of their sale. List of hazardous products is periodically updated. The STI also provides the customs authorities with this list in order to guide their officers at checks of products imported from the third countries to the Community market.
Risk level of operators
The STI keeps the list of risk economic operators. Individual economic operators are marked by risk level according to defined criteria. These criteria include the frequency of legal infringements as well as their severity. Risk level of the relevant economic operator is taken into account while allowing the adoption of voluntary measures by the operator.
If there is any suspicion of danger/ non-compliance of the product the STI requests the notified body to test the product. The STI assess the risk according to the test results and qualify the product. The qualification of the product is the base for taking corrective measures for market and consumer protection. These corrective measures are taken in accordance with the principles of proportionality and precaution.
The risk assessment is carried out by the Guide prepared by the European Commission in relation to the application of the GPSD (it includes risk assessment as well). The probability and severity of risk, the presence of safety warnings and the target group for which the product is intended is also taken into account.
Measures for market and consumers protection against dangerous products are always taken proportionally, given the seriousness of the risk posed by the product and the liability of the operator within the supply chain. Measures are taken either voluntarily by the inspected subject or compulsorily by the market surveillance authority.
Voluntary measures are taken in the necessary extent by inspected subject. The STI prefers them to compulsory measures, if it is not a case of risky operator.
Compulsory measures are imposed when the inspected subject refused to take voluntary measures or in the case of risky operator. Compulsory measures may be imposed by inspector on-site or subsequently by the inspectorate in the administrative proceedings. Inspected subject can appeal against the decision or raise objections.
7. Cooperation at national level
The STI cooperates with other national market surveillance authorities within the established powers.
It cooperates on the base of cooperation agreements with:
- Customs authorities- in the area of checking imported products from the third countries. There are organised regular mutual seminars for inspectors and customs officers with aim to ensure the exchange of knowledge and sharing experiences with market protection and to plan the cooperation for the next period.
- The Public Health Authority (health surveillance authority)- in the area of checking and preparing experts opinions about harmlessness of toys, child care articles and products with detected chemicals content,
- The State Veterinary and Food Administration (food products surveillance body) in the area of control of general food sale conditions.
The STI also cooperates with:
- regulatory authorities,
- notified bodies which are requested to carry out the verification of properties of products suspected of danger, non-conformity or inferiority,
- relevant authorities, forming/ revising new harmonisation or other legislation, technical standards,
- court experts in cases of assessing the safety of consumer products.
8. Relevant parties informing
The STI informs the EC via the contact point for Rapex system (Ministry of Economy of SR) about the risks of dangerous products found on the national market, including the risks of the products already notified by another Member State which were found on the national market and about the measures associated with restricting their freedom of movement.
The STI will also inform the European Commission via the designated national contact points according to the Article 10 of Regulation 764/2008 and Article 23 of Regulation 765/2008.
Market surveillance authorities of other Member States
The STI informs other Member States market surveillance authorities about dangerous products found on national market, when these products have been distributed/ produced in that particular Member State.
National market surveillance authorities
The STI informs other national market surveillance authorities about its findings if the shortcomings lie within the scope of those bodies or it is required by the mutual cooperation agreements.
The STI always informs the economic operators about the test results of sampled product, its qualification as well as about the measures which have to be taken in order to protect market and consumers.
The STI informs the economic operator concerned at the address indicated on the product in question or in the documentation accompanying that product according to the Article 19 of the Regulation 765/2008, if it decides to withdraw from the market a product manufactured in another Member State.
It also informs the economic operators according to the Article 6 and 10 of the Regulation 764/2008.
The STI informs the public via its website (www.soi.sk) about:
- the risks of dangerous products found on the national market and the measures taken for consumers protection,
- the risks of dangerous products found on the Community market and notified to the Rapex system by other Member States and about measures taken to protect consumers,
- the voluntary measures of economic operators related to their products posing risk,
- the new/ revised legal or standard requirements for the needs of both consumers and economic operators,
- the results of their proactive and reactive controls,
- the valid decisions issued on the first or second level within the administrative proceedings.
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