Market surveillance for product safety
Products placed on the market must be safe and meet basic health, environmental and safety requirements. This has given rise to product rules governing the way certain products should be designed and work.
The Swedish Work Environment Authority and many other authorities use a working method called market surveillance to check that these products are CE marked and thus meet the requirements.
If a product is CE marked, it means that a manufacturer certifies that the product meets the EU’s essential health, safety and environmental requirements. The CE mark is also a trade mark which allows a product to be sold freely across national borders within the EU and EEA.
The Swedish Work Environment Authority uses market surveillance to identify dangerous products. This means we conduct surveillance for various types of products or manufacturers, importers and distributors. We conduct surveillance among retailers or lessors, mail order companies and online sales, in addition to surveillance at trade fairs and exhibitions. Some of the surveillance is carried out at workplaces in connection with inspections.
The Swedish Work Environment Authority performs market surveillance on machinery, lifting devices, simple pressure vessels, pressure equipment, ladders, scaffolding and personal protective equipment for professional use.
If you discover goods or products you consider to be dangerous or defective, you can report them to us. Report dangerous or defective products here.
Market surveillance is carried out to protect your health and safety, regardless of whether you are a worker, consumer or other user of products. Market surveillance is also carried out so that companies do not compete with dangerous products.
Market surveillance is also performed following accidents or incidents. Information may come from users, competitors or notified bodies. We also conduct market surveillance together with other authorities and other countries.
Only products approved by the EU may be CE marked. The requirements of the EU Product Safety Directive and product safety regulations must apply in all EU Member States.
The CE mark applies to goods in Europe.
- The product must be CE marked;
- The document entitled ‘Declaration of Conformity’ must be in Swedish (applicable to machinery);
- The user instructions must be in Swedish.
Market surveillance governed by EU rules
The Swedish Work Environment Authority is responsible for market surveillance for many products. Most products are subject to common rules throughout the EU regulated by EU rules. The European rules concerning products have been transposed into Swedish regulations. The EU’s product safety regulations apply without necessarily being transposed into Swedish regulations, e.g. rules concerning personal protective equipment.
Market surveillance governed by Swedish rules
Certain products are not subject to common EU rules. Special Swedish rules apply to these products. For example:
- Ladders (AFS 2004:3)
- Trestles (AFS 2004:3)
- Scaffolding (AFS 2013:4)
The regulation of products may vary between EEA Member States. A product area which is strictly regulated in one Member State may be unregulated in another. Requirements may also differ for the same product.
Market surveillance programme for 2018-2020
The market surveillance programme sets out
- Product areas for which the Swedish Work Environment Authority is responsible:
- Market surveillance for the period 2018-2020.
We may take action if we discover products that are not compliant with European product safety regulations. We may prohibit the sale of products, require suppliers to provide ‘warning information’ or recall the product. Violation of certain rules may lead to fines.
Legal consequences for manufacturers or suppliers failing to follow the rules
The Swedish Work Environment Authority may prohibit the sale of a product on the market
The Swedish Work Environment Authority may prohibit a manufacturer from placing a product on the market if it does not adequately safeguard against ill health and accidents. This also applies to persons providing a product for use or displaying a product for sale. Such bans are generally linked to fines.
Warning information and product recalls
The Swedish Work Environment Authority may also request that manufacturers or suppliers provide warning information or recall defective products. Such orders must be linked to a fine.
Warning information must be provided by the manufacturer or supplier to persons in possession of the product, and must be provided in such a way that people understand the warning through direct messages, advertisements or other representations used by traders in marketing.
A product recall applies to all items of a product. Product recalls comprise corrections (the supplier corrects the defect to which the risk of damage relates), exchanges (the supplier takes back the product and supplies another, defect-free product of the same or equivalent kind) or returns (the supplier takes back the product and provides compensation).
Conditions for warning information and product recalls are determined by the Swedish Work Environment Authority.
Violations of rules on labelling or other product information, testing and inspection or rules on permits, approvals or other proof of compliance with applicable requirements for technical devices are directly punishable and must be submitted to a prosecutor for examination.
Other bodies performing market surveillance
Around 15 authorities in Sweden are responsible for market surveillance of products for which they have sector responsibility. The Swedish Board for Accreditation and Conformity Assessment (Swedac) is responsible for coordinating market surveillance in Sweden.
Examples of authorities that perform market surveillance of products adjacent to the Swedish Work Environment Authority’s areas of responsibility include:
- Swedish Consumer Agency – Consumer products and general product safety
- Swedish National Electrical Safety Board – Electrical equipment and electromagnetic compatibility
- Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) – Gas cylinders
- Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning – Construction products and elevators
You can read more about market surveillance in the EU on the European Commission’s website for market surveillance, ICSMS.
RAPEX is an information and warning system that EU Member States use to inform each other about products with serious risks that have been recalled.
The Market Surveillance Council is a coordination body for market surveillance
The Market Surveillance Council is a national coordination body for market surveillance under Swedac. It acts as a forum for authorities, but the Council also facilitates contacts with the public. Many authorities in Sweden conduct market surveillance. You can read about what they do and find contact details on the website for the relevant authority.
Last updated 2021-03-04