The new Directive lays down stringent demands for the materials and the related documentation used in the manufacturing of toys. The LEGO Group’s manner of performing safety assessments has been in place for many years and LEGO® products always live up to the strictest global safety standards. As a response to the new Directive, the Group has chosen to expand and refine its approach. Since late 2008, it has worked intensively to ensure that all products comply with the new legislation. On July 20, 2013, the final part of the Directive – the chemical requirements of the EU Toy Safety Directive – comes into force.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the LEGO Group, states:
“Product safety is our top priority, and we have always been committed to providing products that live up to the strictest requirements globally as it is essential to us that children all over the world can enjoy the safest possible LEGO play. The new Toy Safety Directive enforces high demands on safety performance, and we fully support this.”
He adds: “I’m proud that, with our input to the new legislation, we can actively participate in pioneering the general level of toy safety – and therefore I’m pleased to announce that we are dedicated to taking the lead in this respect and that we fulfill all requirements of the Directive.”
More Than 2,000 Raw Materials Verified
The LEGO Group has chosen to interpret the new Directive in the strictest manner possible. As a result, every individual substance, raw material, LEGO® element and LEGO® set is screened to verify compliance with the Toy Safety Directive, as well as other legislation, e.g. US legislation, and with the Group’s internal requirements. Applying such a high level of analysis is beyond compliance with legal requirements but has been done to ensure that LEGO® bricks are made of only the absolutely safest and cleanest materials.
“After having verified that all LEGO® products and raw materials already live up to the strictest legislation, the primary challenge for us was to develop and implement a method to secure the extensive and detailed documentation required by the European Union’s Toy Safety Directive. It has been a huge task for our team, which has quadrupled since 2008. Significant resources have also been used on a global scale to ensure that we can document that the more than 2,000 raw materials we use, pass the requirements,” says Cornelis Versluis, Vice President for Corporate Quality, who has the overall responsibility for driving the documentation process.
One LEGO® Brick Passes 10 Checkpoints
The foundation of the LEGO play experience is derived from the iconic 2x4 brick. To satisfy the Directive’s requirements, a single LEGO® brick goes through detailed safety documentation: an element risk assessment, a toy safety report and for quality; an element approval and a technical drawing must be present. When you include the checks for raw materials, it totals 10 checkpoints. In printed form, these reports and supporting documents total 25 pages, for a single LEGO® brick.
The LEGO® Fire Truck item number 60002, which consists of 206 LEGO® elements, is a specific example of the extensive documentation required before any LEGO® product is released for sale. Before the Fire Truck set was approved, it passed more than 1,000 checkpoints in the LEGO Group.
Comprehensive knowledge at a raw material level, places the LEGO Group in a strong position when it needs to respond to changes in new legislation, wants to utilize innovative scientific information, or wants to initiate and implement changes of its own; such as substituting a current choice with a new, safer and more environmentally friendly material.