Safety requirements, which are incorporated into the standardisation requests directed to CEN and CENELEC, are a key element in the development of new standards under the GPSD. They need to follow a hazard-based approach, an approach that comprehensively and systematically identifies, assesses and addresses hazards and risks.

The levels of safety set out in safety requirements should be relevant to the significance of the hazards and risks, especially when the risk of harm is high. These levels of safety should be defined by the European Commission’s GPSD committee, not left to technical committees to decide, their role being to find ways of addressing safety requirements, not deciding on their significance.

These are two of the important conclusions from the ANEC Technical Study The development of safety requirements and hazard-based standards for child use and care articles, undertaken by Anne Smith and Mike Hayes from the UK’s Child Accident Prevention Trust.

To support the development of safety requirements, the study presents a hazard and risk matrix, drawing heavily on the table in CEN/TR 13387:2015 Child use and care articles - General safety guidelines - Part 1: Safety philosophy and safety assessment.

The study also recommends that:

  • CEN/TR 13387-1:2015 should be amended in line with recommendations presented in the report to assist in the drafting of informative rationales in standards.
  • after publication, a standard should be audited by the expert panel that drafted the safety requirements to determine whether or not it fulfils the requirements, both in terms of completeness and the levels of safety provided. This determination should be undertaken systematically using proposals presented in the report. This process can be made easier by drafting safety requirements and standards in a hazard-based format.
  • the expert panels responsible for drafting safety requirements should have broad representation from key stakeholders to ensure that members have an understanding of all the issues that need to be included.

While the report focusses primarily on standards developed under the GPSD and for products with which children might interact, using child use and care articles as an example, the principles might also be relevant for those for adults and to those covered by other Directives.