1. THE RAPEX ALERT SYSTEM
RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system that facilitates the rapid exchange of information between Member States and the Commission on measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers – with the exception of food, pharmaceutical and medical devices, which are covered by other mechanisms. Since 1 January 2010, as regards goods subject to EU harmonisation regulation, the system also facilitates the rapid exchange of information on products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of professional users and on those posing a serious risk to other public interests protected via the relevant EU legislation (e.g. environment and security). Both measures ordered by national authorities and measures taken voluntarily by producers and distributors are reported by RAPEX.
The legal parameters of RAPEX are given by the Directive of the Council for General Product Safety (2001/95/EC). In the Czech Republic it is implemented under Act No. 102/2001 Coll., which deals with general product safety and Government Regulation No. 396/2004 Coll. which deals with procedures, content and the form of information of dangerous non-food products.
2. THE CIRCA INFORMATION AND WARNING SYSTEM
The European Commission’s CIRCA information system is primarily used to mutually notify and provide information on protective measures in accordance with clauses (Safeguard Clause) of the individual EU sectional directives among the Member States. Since 2004, the CTIA has been a registered member of several Working Groups of the European Commission which deal with the issue of sectional directives. Each Working Group uses its own separate part of the CIRCA information system. This enables members to notify, among other things, of measures that pertain to safeguard clauses of the appropriate directive.
CTIA has participated in the following Working Groups:
• ADCO LVD (Directive for Low Voltage);
• ADCO EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility);
• ADCO TOYS (Directive for the Safety of Toys);
• ADCO ATEX (Directive for Equipment Used in Explosive Environments);
• ADCO MACHINERY (Directive for the Safety of Machinery & Equipment); and
• WG Network (Directive for General Product Safety).
3. THE PROSAFE ORGANIZATION
CTIA’s membership in the Prosafe organization enabled its participation in E-Mars. Negotiations within the E-Mars dealt with the risk assessment and various representatives from amongst manufacturers, regulatory authorities and other authorities from EU countries were invited in order to familiarize themselves with the Risk Assessment Guidelines studies. Risk analysis methods play an important role even before a product is introduced onto the market, and the methods used in the Czech Republic fully correspond with guidelines presented at the E-Mars workshop. Specifically, the topic was about the convergence of risk analysis methods for the technical components of products destined for consumer use.
CTIA personnel were directly involved in the development of Rapid Advice Forum phase of the project. This portion of the E-Mars program pertained to market surveillance which aims to ensure the rapid and efficient exchange of information as well as to answer questions from Member States regarding, for example, personal protective gear. For example, if a Member State is unsure whether a given product meets basic safety requirements or whether they fall under certain directives (such as GPSD, LVD, toys, OOP), the Member can ask for assistance in assessing the product and in sending the request. Based on the nature and urgency of the request, the response from the Secretariat of the E-Mars project can be expedited.
4. COOPERATION WITH THE EU NATIONAL SUPERVISORY AUTHORITIES
Fundamental collaboration on specific items and information exchange between national supervisory authorities occurs primarily at the AdCo Group level: international Administrative Cooperation (includes pressure equipment, construction products, machinery, elevators, ski lifts, medical instruments, low voltage equipment, electromagnetic compatibility, noise, toys, personal protective gaear, and ATEX).
CTIA representatives participate in the AdCo Groups that focus on personal protective gear and toys. There, employees of the supervisory and other authorities responsible for applying EU Directives No. 89/686/EEC and 88/378/EEC deal with specific Member States’ questions related to the classification and assessment of personal protective gear and toys. Thanks to this mutual exchange of information and administrative cooperation, control actions have been streamlined. The AdCo Group meetings have also helped clarify the standpoints and unify the practices of supervisory authorities when solving problems related to these consumer products that occur on the individual domestic markets.
5. EXTERNAL BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
As part of their foreign business activities, CTIA professionals are members of many AdCo Groups. The GPSD Network meetings represent the GPSD Committee meetings. Here these controls will be carried out based on information from Member State representatives and in close cooperation with customs officials. The last Group dealt with the Lighters Project. Lighters were tested in the LNA Laboratory in LNA and Burel Veritas according to parameters specified by Standard EN 9994. The twinning program of international cooperation with Bulgaria and Albania was implemented, as was the preparation for the planned twinning cooperation with the Slovak Republic in the field of MID implementation.
Since 2004, the CTIA has also cooperated in the area of product safety, organized by the State Ministry of the Environment, Health and Consumer Protection (StMUGV) in Munich. This initiative involves a regular sharing of experiences and active cooperation between the neighbouring countries of Germany and Austria, as well as with the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary and Slovenia.