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New guide to improve consumer product safety recalls

It was announced in January 2018 that the Government was strengthening the UK's product safety regime by creating a new body in the wake of recent warnings. The newly formed Office for Product Safety and Standards will manage responses to large scale product recalls and identify risks to consumers.

Andrew Griffiths, the business minister, said; “The new Office for Product Safety and Standards will strengthen the UK's already tough product safety regime and will allow consumers to continue to buy, secure in the knowledge there is an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced.”

Following on from this, a new BSI Code of Practice (PAS 7100) has been announced.

What is the Code of Practice?

The Code of Practice will help businesses understand what to do if their product needs to be recalled. This is the first ever published, government-backed, Code of Practice for product safety recalls and the new guidance will help businesses understand what they need to do if something goes wrong with their product.  The move follows recommendations from safety experts commissioned by the government.

The Code of Practice includes details on how a business can monitor the safety of products and plan for a recall, and how Market Surveillance Authorities such as Trading Standards can support businesses in their monitoring of incidents and their implementation of corrective action.

The Code of Practice was created with the assistance of leading retailers, consumer interest groups and industry bodies, including Tesco, Samsung Electronics, British Retail Consortium, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers.

Andrew Griffiths commented that; "This new Code of Practice will support businesses in dealing with product safety issues swiftly and effectively, ensuring people can continue to buy secure in the knowledge there is an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced."

"Effective regulation is a key element of our Industrial Strategy, which is creating the conditions for businesses to succeed in the UK and to compete in the global economy."

Two Sections to the Code of Practice:

The first part is focused on non-food consumer products and is intended for use by manufacturers, importers and distributors. It provides details on:

  • how a business can plan for a recall, including establishing mechanisms to deal with any product safety issue identified;
  • managing a possible safety related product recall or other corrective action;
  • establishing mechanisms to monitor the safety of products;
  • investigating any potential product safety issue; and
  • reviewing corrective action programmes to ensure that product safety responsibilities continue to be met.

The second part is aimed at regulators, specifically Market Surveillance Authorities including Trading Standards. It details how they can carry out their role in ensuring businesses meet their responsibilities in respect of consumer product safety issues by:

  • monitoring incidents and analysing data;
  • supporting businesses in the preparation of their ‘product safety incident plan’ (PSIP); and
  • supporting businesses in their monitoring of incidents and their implementation of appropriate corrective action.

For further information and support with product safety please contact a member of our Business Regulatory Consultancy Team.