General product safety
These rules apply to all companies that place consumer products on the market in Austria, unless there are no more specific rules.
Companies may only place safe consumer products on the market. This applies regardless of whether the products are sold or distributed free of charge. Before placing a product on the market for the first time, companies must therefore assess the safety of the product. However, if a problem arises because a safety issue only comes to light some time later, companies must take corrective action. This may involve issuing a recall. Recalls must be notified to the authorities.
When a product is placed on the market, it is essential to ensure beforehand that it does not pose any risk to consumers. In this case, it is important not only to think of the intended use of the product but also of any possible misuse or even abuse thereof.
A chair is used to sit on, but it is likely that someone might sometimes stand on it as well. This means that the chair must also be able to carry this potential load, even though this is not actually its intended use.
The Product Safety Act [Produktsicherheitsgesetz] requires a risk assessment to be carried out that takes into account all the potential users of a product. Companies therefore also need to consider vulnerable consumer groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities or children. In addition, the user manual, product warnings and any possible combination of a product with another must be taken into account.
However, if specific requirements are already in place for a product, it will be easier for a company to carry out such a risk assessment. Specific legal provisions take priority and must be complied with in all cases. Other guidelines and requirements can also help a company assess safety, for example:
- Standards published in the Federal Law Gazette
- Other non-binding standards
- Recommendations from the Product Safety Advisory Board
- European Commission guidelines
- Codes of conduct
- The state of the art
- Consumer expectations
Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection