According to EU product safety legislation the onus is on economic operators (viz: manufacturers, authorised representatives, importers or distributors) to ensure that only safe products, including sports equipment, are placed on the market. Products placed on the market in the EU must comply with product safety requirements irrespective of the country of origin. If economic operators become aware that products on the market present a potential hazard they must take appropriate measures, up to and including recall of the items, to ensure that the risk is removed. Any action taken by an operator must be notified to the relevant Market Surveillance Authority: for GAA helmets in Ireland this is the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).
The CCPC has confirmed to me that under S.I. No. 136/2018 (European Union (Personal Protective Equipment) Regulations 2018 – the relevant Irish legislation governing the safety of GAA helmets), it has inspected 290,762 products. Of these, it was found that 29,259 were non-compliant or unsafe. In no particular instance were any GAA helmets found to be non-compliant or unsafe.
The CCPC has also confirmed that it has received two cases since 2016 relating to GAA helmets – one was a request for further information relating to the Irish standard I.S. 355:2006 and the other was relating to a consumer dissatisfied with the colour of a helmet purchased.