How does the Whistleblower Protection Directive regulate product safety reporting?

Published: 
6.4.2022 20:23
How does the Whistleblower Protection Directive regulate product safety reporting?

Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and of the Council indicates areas where Whistleblowers are legally protected against retaliation. One of these sectors is product safety and its protection is essential as defective products can endanger the life and health of consumers.

What is product safety?

As consumers, we choose from thousands of different products when we shop. Customers, when deciding on a specific product of a given brand, should pay special attention to safety, for which the producers are responsible. A product is defined as a new, used, repaired, or regenerated movable property that has been intended for use both against payment and free of charge. When they do not meet the safety requirements, they can pose a threat to the health and life of consumers. Products that have been placed on the market in the European Economic Area must comply with the relevant requirements and standards. Any individual who plans to trade goods in the European Union must be familiar with EU harmonized regulations or national technical regulations.

A safe product is a product that, under normal or other reasonably foreseeable conditions of its use, taking into account the time of use, depending on the type, method of commissioning, and installation and maintenance requirements, does not pose any risk to consumers or negligible risk, compatible with its normal use and taking into account the high level of requirements for the protection of human health and life.

Reporting of irregularities by people who directly or indirectly witness infringements is therefore necessary in order to ensure that the products are adequately protected. Due to the entry into force of the Directiveon the protection of Whistleblowers, all persons who report irregularities, including product safety, are legally protected against any retaliation. Whistleblower is a system that allows for reporting infringements by employees who have contact with the production, storage or distribution of products.

What are the features of a safe product?

In order to determine whether a given product is safe, it is necessary to determine and analyze several components, such as:

- Product feature -includes composition, packaging, assembly, commissioning, installation, and maintenance instructions.

- Interaction with other products - determines whether the product will be used together with other products.

- Product appearance -includes, among others labeling, warnings, instructions for use and handling of the used product, and consumer advice.

- Consumer categories -definition of people who may be exposed to danger in connection with the use of the product.

Whistleblowers, guided by these elements of assessment, can determine whether a given product meets the safety requirements. If they observe any deviations from the standards and regulations, they should immediately report to the employer any dangerous situation. In doing so, they act in good faith for the benefit of the business and for the safety of consumers.

What legal acts regulate the safety and compliance requirements of products that are placed on the market in the European Union?

The Whistleblower Protection Directive was created to provide legal protection to those who directly or indirectly witness violations and feel obliged to report them without fear of repercussions. The directive of October 23, 2019 lists the following legal acts that mention the issue of product safety and compliance:

- Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on general product safety.

- Union harmonization legislation on manufactured products on market surveillance and product compliance.

- Directive establishing a framework for the approval of motor vehicles and their trailers, and of systems, components, and separate technical units intended for these vehicles.

In turn, the provisions relating to the placing on the market and use of sensitive and dangerous products have been enacted in the following acts:

- Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defense-related products within the Community.

- Council Directive on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons.

- Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the marketing and use of explosives precursors

In conclusion, the product safety sectors are legally regulated by laws, which must be strictly adhered to and acted upon in accordance with the legal acts and standards that apply to them. Any situation that violates the law may lead to damage to the life or health of consumers. Therefore, it is the duty of Whistleblowers to report violations, and it is up to the employer to ensure that the confidentiality of the identity of all persons who report irregularities is protected. Whistleblower is the system for receiving and managing tickets, fully compliant with the requirements of the directive and ensuring the protection of the confidentiality of the identity of persons reporting violations.

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