Speaker: Laurie Hopkins, International Programs Coordinator, Office of International Programs and Intergovernmental Affairs
Slide 1: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Slide 2: Consumer Products Exported to the United States: Who is Responsible for Safety?
Speaker: Hello, my name is Laurie Hopkins and and I am an International Programs Coordinator in the Office of International Programs and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Today, I’ll be explaining measures you can take to ensure the safety of products you manufacture.
Slide 3: Imported Products Are Essential for the U.S. Economy and Represent Important Revenue for the Exporting Economy But Know the Rules Before You Agree on the Order!
* U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
* Department of Transportation
* Department of Commerce
* Environmental Protection Agency
* Department of Agriculture
Speaker: Imports are critical to the health of the U.S. economy as well as to the exporting economy. However, it is important that you understand what the rules and regulations are in the United States before you sign a contract. There are a number of U.S. government regulatory agencies.
Slide 4: Imported Products Are Essential for the U.S. Economy and Represent Important Revenue for the Exporting Economy But Know the Rules Before You Agree on the Order!
* U.S. Food and Drug Administration
* Department of Homeland Security
* Federal Communications Commission
* Department of Energy
Speaker: In addition to the CPSC, other agencies including the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration may have authority over your product.
Slide 5: What does the CPSC do?
Speaker: What does the CPSC do?
Slide 6: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
* An independent federal agency
* Established May 1973
* Responsible for Consumer Product Safety functions of the Federal Government
* Three Commissioners, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate
Speaker: The CPSC is an independent federal agency, established in 1973, and is responsible for Consumer Product Safety functions of the United States Government. The CPSC has three Commissioners who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Slide 7: Will You Be Trading in Any of 15,000 Types of Consumer Products?
“. . . any article, or component part thereof, produced or distributed (i) for sale to a consumer for use in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise, or (ii) for the personal use, consumption or enjoyment of a consumer in or around a permanent or temporary household or residence, a school, in recreation, or otherwise…”
Section 3(a)(1) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2052 (a)(1)
Speaker: The CPSC regulates 15,000 types of consumer products. The definition of a consumer product is any product that is used in a residence, school, or for recreational or personal use.
Slide 8: Laws That Give CPSC Authority Over Consumer Products Whether Made in USA or Imported
* Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA)
* Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA)
* Flammable Fabrics Act (FFA)
* Poison Prevention Packaging Act (PPPA)
* Refrigerator Safety Act (RSA)
Speaker: Some examples of consumer products under CPSC authority: Toys, electrical products, fireworks and lighters. The CPSC administers five (5) statutes passed by Congress. These statutes apply to consumer products manufactured in the United States as well as products manufactured abroad.
The Consumer Product Safety Act established the agency and is the heart of the agency's authority. Many regulations for toys and other children’s products fall under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. The Flammable Fabrics Act regulates the flammability of fabrics, which includes clothing and upholstered furniture. The CPSC does not regulate drugs but does regulate the packaging of drugs. Child resistant packaging is enforced by the CPSC under the Poison Prevention Packaging Act. The Refrigerator Safety Act was enacted to prevent the entrapment of children in discarded refrigerator. This act is not referred to very often anymore.
Slide 9: Basic Responsibility
Manufacturers, distributors and retailers all equally responsible and liable under the acts (but common carriers are specifically excluded)
Section 15 (b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2064(b) and Section 3 (b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2052(b)
Speaker: Under the Acts, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers are all equally responsible and liable.
Slide 10: Importer and Manufacturer Responsibilities
* Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, the term “manufacturer” is defined to include any person who imports a consumer product.
* Importers, although reliant on foreign producers, are directly responsible for the safety of products they bring into the United States.
Speaker: Under the Consumer Product Safety Act, the term “manufacturer” is defined to include any person who imports a consumer product. Importers are directly responsible for the safety of products they bring into the United States.
Slide 11: Potential Legislative Changes
* Mandatory certification and testing for certain classes of products
* Traceability for imported products, down to sub-contractors
* Easier information sharing between CPSC and foreign government regulators
Speaker: Congress is currently considering substantial changes to the CPSC’s resources and authority. Both houses of Congress have legislation pending. Since the legislation is still pending, I will only describe to you commonalities and the general direction of the proposed bills.
First, both bills require certification and 3rd party testing of certain children’s products. In both bills, an importer must provide, upon order from CPSC, a production and distribution history of the product, down to the sub-contractors. Finally, both bills provide for easier information sharing between the CPSC and foreign regulators. Currently, the CPSC is very limited in what information it can give to foreign governments and this law will make it easier to exchange information in the future.
Slide 12: Voluntary and Mandatory Standards
Speaker: The CPSC has the authority to enact mandatory standards.
Slide 13: Product Safety Standards
* CPSC statutes set a preference for consensus voluntary private sector standards
* Private sector consensus voluntary standards are often developed with the participation of CPSC staff
Speaker: CPSC also encourages firms to comply with voluntary standards. In fact, CPSC statutes set a preference for voluntary private sector standards. CPSC staff regularly contributes their technical knowledge to organizations that create voluntary standards.
Slide 14: Primary Voluntary Standard Development Coordinators for Consumer Products
ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
* Motorized Equipment
* Lawn & Garden Equipment
* Household Products
* Safety Labeling
ASTM International (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials)
* Children’s Products
* Recreational Products
Speaker: There are a number of voluntary standards organizations that develop standards for products under CPSC’s jurisdiction. The American National Standards Institute and ASTM International are two (2) of the largest.
Slide 15: Primary Voluntary Standard Development Coordinators for Consumer Products
NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)
* Fire Suppression (sprinklers, fire extinguishers)
* Fueled Devices
Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
* Electrical and other products
Speaker: Underwriters Laboratory is another highly recognizable Voluntary Standards Organization, which develops voluntary standards for electrical and other products.
Slide 16: Voluntary Standards
In some cases, failure to comply with a consensus (voluntary) standard makes a product defective and creates a substantial hazard.
Speaker: In certain cases, failure to comply with a voluntary standard could make a product defective and could lead to a recall. This is particularly true for electrical products, since there are very few mandatory electrical standards.
Slide 17: Example: Hair Dryers
This hair dryer does not have an appliance leakage current interrupter (ALCI) plug. It presents a risk of electrocution if dropped in water.
CPSC will seek a recall.
Speaker: For example, a hair dryer that does not have an ACLI plug would present a risk of electrocution if dropped in water. This would be hazardous to consumers and would therefore be recalled.
Slide 18: Importance of Using U.S. Mandatory and Voluntary Standards
* To avoid entry problems with the U.S. Government (Customs and CPSC), manufacturers SHOULD comply with BOTH:
* CPSC Regulations (mandatory standards)
* Private sector standards (voluntary standards)
* Both play essential safety roles
Speaker: It is imperative that you comply with both mandatory and voluntary standards. Both are important for ensuring the safety of your product. Keep in mind that a product may present a substantial product hazard even if it complies with the applicable mandatory and voluntary standards. Any product that has a defect and presents a hazard to consumers may be recalled.
Slide 19: CPSA – Imported Products
Sec. 17 (a)(1)
Any consumer product offered for importation into the customs territory of the United States shall be refused admission into such customs territory if such product—
(1) fails to comply with an applicable consumer product safety rule.
(4) has a product defect which constitutes substantial product hazard.
Speaker: The CPSC recently established the Import Surveillance Division and will be increasing inspections at American ports. Any product that fails to comply with the applicable mandatory standard or has a defect may be refused admission into the United States.
Slide 20: What Can You Do to Ensure the Safety of Your Product
Speaker: What can you do to ensure the safety of your product?
Slide 21: Five things you can do to ensure your product is safe
* Safety Consciousness
* Specifications (standards)
* Market Surveillance
Speaker: There are five (5) things you can do to ensure your product is safe. Recognize the importance of safety during the manufacturing process. Request that importers and retailers provide you with the complete specifications when placing an order. Certify a product when necessary. Test your product at all stages of production. And conduct market surveillance. These are all things you can do to ensure your product is safe.
Slide 22: CPSC Handbook for Manufacturing Safer Consumer Products (picture of cover)
Speaker: Safety Consciousness means to be aware of the importance of product safety and building a culture in your firm where product safety is a high priority. The CPSC has written a Handbook for Manufacturing Safer Consumer Products that provides a general description of widely accepted principles for consistently manufacturing safe consumer products.
The Handbook was first written in the 1970’s and was updated and translated into Mandarin in 2005. In 2006 both the English and Mandarin versions of the Handbook were updated again. I would encourage you to visit the CPSC website and download the Handbook, which is on the international webpage.
Slide 23: Handbook Overview
The Handbook identifies the essential elements of industrial systems for manufacturing safe consumer products.
* Section I - Defines the purpose of the Handbook and its applicability.
* Section II - Relates to executive action.
* Section III - Discusses technical concepts.
Speaker: The Handbook covers a spectrum of topics, including executive and managerial functions product design, and technical requirements.
Slide 24: Applicability of the Handbook
The contents are intended for voluntary implementation by industry, except for those that are statutory by virtue of being established in product safety standards and rules, in accordance with the statutes governing CPSC.
Speaker: The Handbook is for you to use on a voluntary basis and you are not required by law to follow the principles discussed in the Handbook.
Slide 25: Safety Consciousness
* Do your homework – know exactly which standards apply to your product
* Mandatory standards are the bare minimum
* Consensus standards will help avoid trouble
* Learn the safety issues before you make a deal, not after!
* Use the information from CPSC website
* Sign up to receive notice of CPSC recalls
* Talk to experts in the field
Speaker: Knowing the appropriate standards and regulations and applying those requirements to the design and manufacture of your product will help to ensure it is safe. As I mentioned before, mandatory standards are only a starting point. Compliance to voluntary standards is an important part of making sure your product is safe for consumers to use.
There are many resources for determining the requirements that apply to your product. Talk to experts in the field. Many trade associations provide numerous resources for their members. The CPSC website is also an excellent resource where, in addition to finding regulations, you can acquire recall information sign-up for e-mail notifications of recalls.
Slide 26: For New Certification, Testing and Other Requirements:
Speaker: The CPSC has a new web page where you can access information on new requirements, some of which have been translated into Mandarin. You may access the new web page from the CPSC’s International webpage.
Slide 27: ANSI Standards Portal
To access many, but not all, U.S. Standards: http://www.standardsportal.org/
Speaker: In addition, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has created a new website called the ANSI Standards Portal. This website provides the synopses in Mandarin of approximately 1,000 American voluntary standards. The web portal also provides a link to Standardization Administration of China or SAC, where you can purchase almost all American standards.
Slide 28: Communicating Specifications
* Importers and manufacturers must have a clear understanding of exactly which standards need to be met
* Foreign manufacturers/suppliers should insist on a list of which mandatory and consensus standards apply
* Specify consensus standards and other safety requirements
Speaker: While it is important that you determine the requirements for a product you are manufacturing, you should also require that the importer you signed a contract with provide for you a list of applicable mandatory and voluntary standards.
Slide 29: Some Products Require Certification
* Section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act requires certification of some consumer products
* Under this law, which dates from 1972, the term “certification” has a different meaning than it does in recent international usage
* Certification under section 14 is more like a “supplier’s declaration of conformity”
Speaker: Certification is an important tool for ensuring the safety of your product. The CPSC requires that some products be certified. Section 14 of the Consumer Product Safety Act requires certification for some consumer products. Under this law, which dates from 1972, the term “certification” has a different meaning than it does in recent international usage. Certification under section 14 is more like a “suppliers Declaration of Conformity.”
Slide 30: Which CPSC Standards Currently Require Certification
* Section 1202 matchbooks
* Section 1203 bicycle helmets
* Section 1205 walk-behind power lawn mowers
* Section 1210 cigarette lighters
* Section 1212 multipurpose lighters
* Section 1213 bunk beds
* Section 1633 mattresses
* More in the future possible – stay current!
Speaker: There are a number of products under CPSC authority that must be certified. For example, as a result of a new regulation that went into effect July 2007, mattresses must now be certified.
Slide 31: Expansion of Mandatory Certification Is Likely
Bills pending in Congress could make certification requirements applicable to other products, particularly toys, and would require 3rd party lab to confirm certification
Speaker: Legislation pending in Congress would require certification for other products, particularly children’s products. It is possible that other products could require certification in the future, so it’s important that you stay informed by visiting the CPSC website.
Slide 32: Other Certification Requirements
* Third-party certification may be required by others for imported products, even if not required by the federal government.
* For example, some States require certification of electrical products by recognized organizations like UL, CSA, ETL
* Retailers may require certification for certain products they sell
Speaker: Third party certification may be required even if not mandated by the CPSC. For example, many state governments require certification for electrical products sold in their state. Many retailers require that the products sold in their stores are certified by an independent laboratory.
Slide 33: Voluntary Third-Party Certification
* Certification by an independent third party is meaningful in many settings
* CPSC takes certification into account in sampling products for testing (e.g.,AFSL-tested fireworks are considered more likely to be compliant)
* Failure to comply with consensus standards can create problems in product liability suits
* Consumers recognize and buy safer products
Speaker: Third party certification is often a good idea even if it is not required by law or the retailer. CPSC takes certification into account when testing. For example, fireworks that are certified by the American Fireworks Standards Laboratory are considered more likely to be compliant. Failure to comply with voluntary standards can often create problems in lawsuits initiated by injured customers. In addition, customers recognize popular certification marks, such as UL, and are more likely to buy products with the certification label displayed on the product.
Slide 34: Testing
* Importers and suppliers should make sure that products meet all CPSC standards at a minimum
* To avoid problems, samples should be tested randomly, early and often
* The cost of testing is a tiny fraction of the costs associated with recalls and violations
Speaker: Testing early in the manufacturing process and at regular intervals will ensure that your product complies with all appropriate mandatory and voluntary standards. While testing can increase your production expenses, the cost of testing is a fraction of the cost of a recall.
Slide 35: Market Surveillance
* Make sure you have a system for keeping track of consumer complaints involving products in which you trade>
* Pay attention to information from the CPSC Clearinghouse [www.cpsc.gov] and reports from your retailers>
* Early identification of problems can avoid bigger problems
Speaker: Another way to ensure the safety of your product after it has entered the marketplace is to perform market surveillance. Tracking customer complaints is an effective market surveillance tool. You and the retailer can ID a problem with your product by carefully reviewing customer feedback. You and the retailer can then work together to resolve any problems with the product.
Slide 36: What if a product hazard is discovered?
Speaker: What if a product hazard is discovered?
Slide 37: Reporting
Importers must report to the CPSC immediately if they learn that one of their products does not comply with a mandatory standard or ban under the Consumer Product Safety Act.
Speaker: Importers must report to the CPSC immediately, that is, within 24 hours, if they learn that one of their products does not comply with a mandatory standard or ban under the Consumer Product Safety Act.
Slide 38: Reporting
* Failure to comply with a mandatory standard or ban under other laws administered by the CPSC may constitute a reportable defect
* Failure to meet consensus voluntary standards may make a product defective and require a report to CPSC
Speaker: Failure to comply with a mandatory standard or ban under other laws administered by the CPSC may constitute a reportable defect. Failure to meet voluntary standards may make a product defective and require a report to the CPSC. Remember, fines can be levied against any company that fails to report a defect in a timely manner.
Slide 39: Reporting Wisely
* Don’t assume that an incident without injury means there’s no problem
* Do evaluate product failures to determine what could have occurred in worst case
* Don’t wait to finish exhaustive investigation before telling CPSC
Speaker: When evaluating whether to report a defect to the CPSC, there are several things you should take into consideration. First, it is very important to understand that even though there may be no injury as a result of the defect, you may still have to report the defect to the CPSC. Firms should not wait until someone is injured or killed before reporting a defect.
Evaluate product failures to determine what could have occurred in worst case scenario. Also, firms should not wait until an exhaustive investigation has been completed before telling the CPSC.
Slide 40: Corrective Action
The CPSA provides for three remedies in the case of the recall of a product that creates a substantial product hazard (15 U.S.C. § 2064(d)):
* Refund of purchase price
Speaker: The CPSC provides three (3) remedies when recalling a product: Repair, Replacement, or Refund of purchase price.
Slide 41: Corrective Action
Not every safety issue requires a recall, but it is important to learn from mistakes and prevent the same problems from happening again
Speaker: That being said, reporting a problem does not necessarily lead to a recall. However, learning from a mistake can prevent the mistake from occurring again.
Slide 42: Long term cost exceeds the cost of immediate recall
Long Term Repercussions: Damage to Brand Name and “Made in My Country”
Speaker: Long term cost exceeds the cost of an immediate recall. Damage to the brand name or to the reputation of the country where the product is manufactured can be long term and effect sales far into the future.
Slide 43: Preventive Action
* Preventive action is better than corrective action, for everyone
* Importer / Supplier must work as a team. Everyone wins or everyone loses.
Speaker: Therefore, it is important that preventative measures are taken to avoid a recall. Retailers, importers and suppliers must work closely together to ensure the safety of your product.
Slide 44: Questions?
Office of International Programs
Laurie Hopkins, International Programs Coordinator
Speaker: This is the conclusion of my presentation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.