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Reduce Risks:
Liability of responsible persons

Adherence to product compliance regulations is not only a legal necessity, but also an essential prerequisite for the long-term success of a company.

Managing directors, board members and senior executives have a particular responsibility in this regard. They can be held personally liable for breaches of these regulations, which can have far-reaching consequences.

Legal foundations of liability

Managing directors, board members and senior executives have a duty to ensure that their company complies with the applicable legal requirements. This duty arises from various legal regulations, such as the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG), the German Limited Liability Companies Act (GmbHG) and the German Administrative Offenses Act (OWiG). A breach of product compliance regulations can be considered a breach of duty, which can result in both civil and criminal penalties.

Civil liability

In the context of civil liability, the managers concerned can be held responsible if a breach of duty can be proven. This may be the case, for example, if a managing director deliberately or grossly negligently violates product safety regulations and causes damage as a result.

Liability not only includes compensation for the damage incurred, but can also include recourse claims by the company, for example if the company itself is called upon to pay compensation.

Criminal liability

In addition to civil liability, violations of product compliance regulations can also be prosecuted under criminal law. This is particularly the case if the violations endanger life or health. Examples of this include the manufacture and distribution of unsafe products. Criminal sanctions can range from fines to imprisonment and are usually associated with considerable reputational damage for the persons concerned.

Violations of the REACH Regulation (in particular Annex XVII) or the Stockholm Convention (POP Regulation) can lead to severe fines or even imprisonment. The negligent placing on the market of contaminated consumer goods alone is a criminal offense and can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

Liability under administrative offense law

Violations of product-related regulations can also be punished as administrative offenses. This can result in severe fines, which can be imposed on both the company and the persons responsible. The German Administrative Offenses Act (OWiG) provides for clear regulations that allow for personal liability of the responsible managers.

Solution approaches from trinasco

In order to avoid personal liability, managing directors, board members and senior executives should implement comprehensive compliance measures. This includes the establishment of an effective compliance management system, regular employee training and the establishment of control mechanisms to monitor compliance with regulations.

This is the only way to ensure that legal requirements are adhered to and that both the company and the individuals responsible are protected from legal and financial damage. A proactive and diligent approach to product compliance can not only avoid legal consequences, but also strengthen the trust of consumers and business partners.

Our references

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