In 1972, the Consumer Product Safety Act was
signed into law. The following year the Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) was established. The primary mission of the
CPSC is to “protect the public against the unreasonable risks
of injuries and deaths associated with consumer products.” In
its efforts to prevent injuries and deaths, the Commission:
- Works with industry to develop voluntary safety standards.
- Issues and enforces mandatory standards, where appropriate.
- Bans products for which no feasible standard would adequately
protect the public.
- Obtains the recall or repair of products that present
a substantial hazard to consumers.
- Conducts research on potential hazards.
CPSC Mission - Scope
of the Problem
For a perspective on the scope of the problem of consumer
product related injuries and deaths, consider the following:
- Every year consumer products are involved in the deaths of
an estimated 23,000 Americans and injuries to 31 million others.
- These injuries, deaths, and associated property damages cost
the American public billions of dollars annually.
- Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for Americans
under the age of 35 and is the fifth leading cause of death in
- Injuries kill more children than any disease.
Sample of 2002 CPSC Injury Statistics
The efforts of CPSC have had a significant impact on
the prevention of injuries and deaths related to consumer products
- Saving $13 billion annually in health care, property damage,
and other social costs.
- Negotiating over 145 voluntary safety standards since 1994.
- Completing over 300 cooperative recalls including 90 million
product units in 2001 alone.
- Publishing over 40 mandatory safety standards.
- Responding to 200,000 hotline calls annually.
For nearly 30 years CPSC has operated the National
Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), a statistically
valid injury surveillance and follow-back system providing timely
data on injuries occurring in the U.S associated with 800 categories
of consumer products.
NEISS injury data are gathered from the emergency
departments of hospitals selected as a probability sample of
approximately 5,000 U.S. hospitals with emergency departments.
These data enable CPSC analysts to make timely national estimates
of the number of injuries associated with (but not necessarily
caused by) specific consumer products. These data also provide
evidence of the need for further study of particular products.
Subsequent follow-back studies yield important clues to the cause
and likely prevention of injuries.
There are four steps in NEISS:
- Collecting - Every day emergency department (ED) case
records are gathered, reconciled and reviewed by each of the
participating NEISS hospitals.
- Coding - For cases meeting NEISS reporting criteria,
injury surveillance data is extracted from the ED record and coded
using rules described in the NEISS
- Reporting - Coded data is entered into a personal computer
(provided by CPSC) and transmitted electronically to CPSC.
- Analyzing - Injury surveillance data is entered into
the CPSC database and reviewed by analysts to identify emerging
hazards and the need for follow-back studies.
NEISS - Hospital Involvement
Your hospital has been statistically selected to participate
in NEISS. Each hospital represents many similar hospitals throughout
the United States. Practically speaking, this means that every
injury you report is important not only for itself, but also because
it is multiplied by a weight to account for similar injuries treated
at the other hospitals you are representing. Your reports lay the
cornerstone in the effort to reduce injuries and deaths from consumer
The NEISS Coordinator
The primary responsibility of the NEISS Coordinator
is to report NEISS cases to CPSC. The NEISS Coordinator collects
hospital emergency department records, identifies reportable
cases, extracts and codes surveillance data, enters the coded
data into the PC-NEISS software program, and reports the data
to CPSC. The NEISS Coordinator is the key player that makes the
- End of Introduction Section -