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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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Safe gardening - an audit by The Trade Inspection Authority

< previous | next > 21.09.2018

Safe gardening - an audit by The Trade Inspection Authority
  • Are the lawnmower and loppers you use in your garden safe? The Trade Inspection Authority investigated the matter to find out.
  • Inspectors had reservations about only 21.7 per cent of the investigated gardening machines.
  • Most frequently, the Trade Inspection Authority impugned inappropriate marking and insufficiencies in documentation and instruction manuals.

It is the season for maintenance works in gardens and on allotments. Garden owners mow their lawns, trim hedges and will soon start removing leaves. Tools which can help with the above include lawn mowers, grass trimmers, scythes, leaf blowers, shredders, lawn aerators, tillers. At the request of UOKiK, the Trade Inspection Authority verified whether gardening machines satisfied legal and technical requirements and were safe to use.

The inspection was carried out in the second quarter of this year at 53 undertakings from 8 provinces: Dolnośląskie, Małopolskie, Mazowieckie, Łódzkie, Podlaskie, Pomorskie, Podkarpackie and Warmińsko-Mazurskie. The inspectors checked 161 types of machines. They verified the documents certifying compliance of the equipment with all EU regulations and safety standards. They inspected the marking and instruction manuals – whether they were incomplete, difficult to understand or created the risk of injury to the user. They also checked the equipment for visible defects, such as poorly fitted housing or loose cables.

The Trade Inspection Authority impugned 35 gardening machines (21.7% of all audited machines). The majority of irregularities concerned the declaration of compliance with EU legal requirements, which must be attached to all equipment. For instance, it failed to include the description of the machine or the manufacturer’s details. The inspectors also had reservations about instruction manuals – in one case there was none whatsoever, and in some they failed to include information or warnings important in the context of user safety. There were also cases of machines being marked incorrectly.

The majority of undertakings voluntarily remedied the formal irregularities. In one case, the Trade Inspection Authority notified law enforcement agencies of suspected offences consisting in introduction of a product which failed to satisfy the essential requirements onto the market. The product in question was a petrol hedge trimmer which included an incorrect instruction manual.

Do you want to buy garden equipment? See:

  • CE marking – this is the manufacturer’s declaration that the product conforms with legal and technical requirements,
  • additional certifications, e.g. “GS”, TÜV, VDE – they are non-compulsory and show that the safety has been checked by an independent entity,
  • the condition of the equipment – check whether the body features no damage and has been assembled carefully, whether all cables, switches and guards are fitted well,
  • the instruction manual – it must be written in Polish, contain information about the machine and the manufacturer, as well as explain how to use, maintain and transport it safely.

Do you have any doubts or objections? Contact the Trade Inspection Authority.

Consumer support:

Phone: 801 440 220 or +48 22 290 89 16 – consumer helpline
Email: [SCODE]cG9yYWR5QGRsYWtvbnN1bWVudG93LnBs[ECODE]
Branches of the Consumer Federation
Consumer spokespersons – in your town or county

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office 
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone: +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 314
Email: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

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