The Government’s new Office for Product Safety and Standards has teamed up with BSI, the UK’s national standards body, to launch the first Government-backed Code of Practice – designated PAS 7100 – for product safety recalls in the UK. 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 local authority Trading Standards can support businesses in their monitoring of incidents and the implementation of corrective action.
Developed by the BSI, the Code of Practice is the first major initiative for the new Office for Product Safety and Standards which was launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in January. It follows a recommendation by the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety to introduce such a Code in a bid to further strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety regime.
The Code was created with the assistance of leading retailers, consumer interest groups and industry bodies, among them Tesco, Samsung Electronics, the British Retail Consortium, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers*.
Consumer Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “This new Code of Practice will support businesses in dealing with product safety issues both swiftly and effectively, ensuring that customers can continue to buy secure in the knowledge there’s an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced. Effective regulation is a key element of the Government’s new Industrial Strategy, which is creating the conditions for businesses to succeed in the UK and compete in the global economy.”
Scott Steedman, director of standards at the BSI, commented: “Public interest in product safety is higher than it has ever been and, while consumer products generally perform without problems, there are times when products can become faulty and require a repair or recall. The Code of Practice has been created to ensure that corrective action by manufacturers is taken in both a safe and systematic way. The launch of this guidance is an important step forward in ensuring even higher levels of product safety in the future.”
Delivered in two parts
The Code of Practice is delivered in two parts. The first is focused on non-food consumer products and 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, and specifically market surveillance authorities including local authority 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 and also supporting businesses in their monitoring of incidents as well as their implementation of appropriate corrective action.
The Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 7100 Code of Practice on Consumer Product Safety-Related Recalls and Other Corrective Action has been created to guide businesses and regulators through the process of planning for and handling a product recall.
The development of this PAS by BSI was recommended by the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety and associated behavioural insight research into the effectiveness of product recalls. PAS 7100 both explains and applies existing legal requirements to be met by businesses or regulators.
*The following organisations were involved in the development of PAS 7100 as members of the Steering Group: the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances, the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers, Baker & McKenzie LLP, the British Retail Consortium, the British Toy and Hobby Association, the BSI Consumer and Public Interest Network, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, Cooley (UK) LLP, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Electrical Safety First, the London Fire Brigade, the National Caravan Council, the National Fire Chiefs Council, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd, techUK, Tesco and Wilco Retail Limited