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CPSC Creates New Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman

Release Date: September 23, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC - As another sign of the agency’s commitment to being accessible to the public, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted (4-1) to approve the creation of an Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman.

This new office will coordinate and carry out education and outreach activities to domestic and international stakeholders, including manufacturers, retailers, resellers, small businesses, foreign governments, and consumers. As part of its broad mission, this new office will work with manufacturers in building safety into their products, will work to address the questions and concerns of the regulated community, and will facilitate the transfer of information on regulatory requirements and best manufacturing practices across industries. As for distributors and retailers, this new office will be tasked in part with ensuring that information about recalls is distributed to these stakeholders in a timely manner. Retailers and distributors will also be informed about how to respond quickly to safety alerts issued by CPSC affecting products they sell.

Another important component of this new office will be the Small Business Ombudsman. This position will advance the cause of safety by serving as the dedicated CPSC contact for the nation’s many small businesses. In this role, the Small Business Ombudsman will be charged in part with developing and providing information and guidance specifically tailored to small businesses and small batch manufacturers as well as actively share within the agency information gained from manufacturers, retailers, and distributors.

Finally, the new Office of Education, Global Outreach, and Small Business Ombudsman will serve as a coordinated business unit charged with carrying out and enhancing CPSC’s outreach to the international community. By working with foreign regulatory bodies, CPSC can help them develop effective product surveillance strategies, product testing methods, and voluntary and mandatory product safety standards.

This new office is not operational yet, but once its mission is finalized and it is staffed, CPSC will inform the public and stakeholders.

Note: Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, Commissioner Moore, Nord and Adler voted in the affirmative and Commissioner Northup voted in the negative.

CPSC Commissioner statements attached to this release: Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum (pdf), Commissioner Nancy A. Nord (pdf), and Commissioner Anne M. Northup (pdf)

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.

Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

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