EMARS 2

Posted in Joint Actions

EMARS 2 aimed to further enhance the market surveillance of non-food consumer products in Europe. This was achieved through the practical application and fine-tuning of the best practice developed originally by the first EMARS. The project provided a framework for closer collaboration, within which future Joint Actions (JAs) and coordinated activities on specific products and other market surveillance related issues were identified.
The specific goals of this ambitious project included:
- Developing a more rigorous and systematic approach to the identification and execution of JAs;
- Promoting a more consistent approach to market surveillance through the development of best practice and a training programme for market surveillance officials in the field of consumer product safety;
- Ensuring adequate liaison between market surveillance authorities and standards development;
- Improving collaboration with customs officials;
- Improving operational level collaboration with relevant enforcement authorities outside the EEA.
EMARS 2 was carried out by 21 EEA countries and co-financed by the European Union. PROSAFE managed the project and represented the contracting party with the Commission on behalf of the participating Member States. The project finished in the end of 2011 and consisted out of eight tasks and a horizontal task to ensure the overall coordination:

  1. Task A. Best Practice 
  2. Task B. Management and Planning of Future Joint Actions
  3. Task C. Risk Assessment
  4. Task D. Market surveillance guidance material for external stakeholders
  5. Task E. Training
  6. Task F. Continuous improvement of national market surveillance programmes
  7. Task G. Standards related activities
  8. Task H. Liaison with Notified Bodies

The Final Implementation Report of the EMARS 2 provides information about the activities undertaken, the participants involved, the results obtained and a financial statement comparing all expenditures against the budget. EMARS 2 was an ambitious project. Its prime task was to continue the development and consolidation of the innovative work done by EMARS 1.
The Final Strategy being developed as a deliverable from the EMARS II project has been finalised. We kindly recommend you to consult the letter from the Project Leader, Mr. Gunnar Wold, and to download a copy of the document here.


The core tasks identified under EMARS 2 sought to continue the very usefull suite of tools and basic coordination activities developped under EMARS 1. The modular approach proposed by EMARS 2 had the advantage of ensuring that all member states, participating even at the lowest level in the project, would benefit from the results of the entire project. Liaison was maintained with other regulatory committees and ADCOs, customs authorities, other ongoing market surveillance initiatives, with market surveillance authorities from jurisdictions outside Europe and with external stakeholders.
Deliverables:
• The continued operation and further development of the Rapid Advice Forum (RAF) and of the Knowledge Base;
• Annual compilation of market surveillance plans and the identification of Joint Actions and coordinated activities amongst the Member States;
• Six coordination meetings (see below);
• Two workshops and a final conference;
• Dissemination of the results of the project;
• Strategy for the further enhancement of market surveillance after the completion of the project. 


Best Practices

Under the EMARS 1 project an effort had been made to identify best practice related to market surveillance techniques and these are being set down in a Book to be published at the end of the project. This marked an excellent first step towards encouraging a more constant approach to market surveillance throughout the EU. The activities undertaken under this theme were directed towards assessing the practical application of the Book developed under the EMARS 1 and then also using the Book as the basis for more detailed guidance in respect of specific products, sectors or directives and regulations. Attention wasl also given to identifying Best Practice with respect to cooperation with Customs.
Deliverables:
• Practical guidance to apply the EMARS Best Practice Book to different product sectors;
• Guidelines, checklists and other material related to other issues where best practice can be identified.

Joint Actions

The project sought to identify the best practice emerging from the Joint Actions undertaken in the past few years. In particular, attention was given to the experience being gained with the large number of member states participating in the cigarette lighters project, the collaboration with customs being undertaken in this and other projects and to identifying different levels of engagement that member states can have in Joint Actions so as to encourage as many national organisations as possible to participate in future projects.The best practice so identified was used to develop guidelines and procedures for the more efficient execution of Joint Actions.
Deliverables:
• Development of best practice handbook for the planning and implementation of Joint Actions;
• Annual inventory of national market surveillance plans;
• Annual programmes of Joint Actions and coordinated market surveillance activities 


Risk Assessment

Deliverables:
• Establishment of RAF type risk assessment group - monitored by PROSAFE;
• Development of a Manual of contentious risk assessment cases and how they were resolved. Task C working group analysed 21 risk assessment cases at its meetings, e.g. fire extinguisher, sky latern, wooden toy dog, children’s trousers with a long drawstring around the waist; conveyor belt, cable reel,cigarettes lighters, tricycle, halogen lamps, charcoal grill, push chair, wheel chair swing, antenna amplifier etc.
• System for collecting and publishing data on probability factors;
• Risk Assessment training materials;
• Continuous development of risk assessment chapters in “The Book”
• Organisation of risk assessment seminars in 2009, 2010 and 2011 to discuss developments in the area of risk assessment for consumer products and to help promote the development and implementation of best practice in risk assessment for non-food consumer products. 


 Guidance material

Deliverables:
• Analysis of stakeholder needs;
• Revision of existing corrective action guide (CAG);
• Production of other deliverables depending on needs identified.

Task D was meant to develop “Guidance material for external stakeholders”, hence the need to duly involve a good representation of the stakeholders interested in the performance of the Task.
As a project deliverable, PROSAFE issued a revised Corrective Actions Guide (CAG) and Annexes. A hardcopy can be obtained by writing an email to info@prosafe.org. If you are a producer or distributor of consumer products on sale in the European Union (EU), this Guide endeavours to provide general advice about what you should do if you have evidence that one of your products is unsafe.
The Guide is aimed particularly at management with responsibility regarding product safety compliance, quality control, legal affairs and public and corporate relations within businesses and organisations.

Training

The main activity revolved around the development and subsequent training of a number of market surveillance officers via e-learning and training workshops.
Additionally, another activity was related to the assistance given by PROSAFE to assist market surveillance authorities to participate more in ‘exchange of officials’ by trying to act as a ‘match-maker’ between various market surveillance authorities. 
PROSAFE also assisted various national training activities by focusing the two European-level training workshops to ‘train the trainers’. This ensured a positive spill-over effect when these trainers returned back to their market surveillance authorities since they were able to further train other officers in what they had learnt. 


 CIMS

The main activity revolved around the development of a review system amongst market surveillance authorities which has been called CIMS (Continuous Improvement in Market Surveillance), including the development of a guidance document on CIMS which acts as a basic framework for such activities.
Additionally, support was given to the Commission’s working group on the Consumer Market Scoreboard. This took the form of direct participation by TASK F participants in that working group as well as giving input from TASK F to the Commission via the GPSD Committee Meeting.

Standardisation

The majority of Task G’s activities were undertaken at the European level. These included background research analysing the results of a questionnaire circulated to the Member States authorities. Work was then undertaken on identifying the scope of coordination activities that could be encouraged. A protocol was developed to help ensure adequate liaison between market surveillance activities and standards development. Lastly an inventory was drawn up of standards ad standards projects of interest to market surveillance officials.


Notified bodies

Market surveillance authorities should have very good working relationships with the testing laboratories and Notified Bodies in their Member State and also at cross-border level. When deciding which laboratories should be involved in a Market Surveillance project, a number of considerations must be made and tests should be reliable, substantiated by the use of accredited laboratories wherever possible.
It is important to take into account that several types of laboratories exist based on their status as Notified Bodies and/or Accredited Laboratories, or testing laboratories. It has to be considered that some testing laboratories operating in the European market are neither accredited laboratories nor notified bodies.
The most important activities that were performed at European level were:
• Contacts with EU Commission involved DGs on the best approach to be taken towards Notified Bodies;
• Contacts with European Accreditation with the view to strengthen the contacts with PROSAFE and to have the possibility to contribute to development of the Guidance documents developed by European Accreditation and that are of interest for Task H
Particular attention was given to the need to clearly define the frame of the activities developed by the Task H to avoid they overlap and create undue repetition of the activities with those performed by the European Accreditation system or under the responsibility of Notifying Authorities.