Code of Practice on Product Safety Recalls – Are you recall ready?

12 February 2019

Posted on by Penny Walshe

With the response rate to an electrical product recall or safety notice only around 10-20%, and with 546 notices issued since 2007, there are millions of potentially dangerous electrical products in UK homes.  

In January 2018 the Government announced the establishment of a new Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) which has been tasked with improving consumer safety standards through the identification of risks and the management of large-scale product recalls and repairs.

One of Electrical Safety First’s priorities is to raise awareness of the safety issues presented by recalled electrical goods. Without an effective and properly resourced recall system, consumers are put at risk and business brands and reputations can be badly affected. So, we welcomed the new Office and its focus on improving the product safety regime in the UK. 

We have worked closely with OPSS and other stakeholders as a part of the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety on the development of a code of practice for business and regulators, launched in March 2018. The code supports better product recalls and provides a consistency and transparency in setting out guidance around the response to recall situations that will reduce the risk to consumers and business.

The full name for the guidance is PAS 7100: Code of Practice on consumer product safety related recalls and other corrective actions. It is a vital tool for anybody involved in the manufacture of electrical products and is available as a free download to small and medium sized businesses.

We’ve summarised what you need to know before you download your copy.

What is a “PAS”?

PAS stands for Publicly Available Specification. It’s a fast-track standard making process, developed in response to a particular need that has been identified by industry, Government or academia. document that standardizes elements of a product, service or process.

And what is PAS 7100 and who developed it?

The development of PAS 7100 was facilitated by BSI, and had input from a range of organisations including manufacturers, retailers, emergency services, consumer safety organisations, lawyers and trade associations. It is a Code of Practice intended to make it easier for businesses to prepare for and deal with product recall situations and applies to recalls of all non-food consumer products placed on the market in the UK other than those for which existing corrective action and recall processes are in place (e.g. automotive, pharmaceuticals, food).

Why is it useful for business?

If you are a business that imports or sells goods to consumers, you have a responsibility to ensure that they are safe.  Most businesses will hopefully never need to recall a product. However, occasionally things do go wrong, a safety issue may be identified, and you may be required to warn consumers about potential safety risks, monitor those risks, inform the relevant Market Surveillance Authority (Trading Standards) or take effective corrective action as necessary. 

But by the time this happens, it’s likely to be too late to gather the information required to put things right. So, having a planned course of action in place is vital to ensure a timely and effective response.

The code of practice will help you to make sure that these correct processes are set up. It covers the monitoring, assessing, notifying and correcting of unsafe products and puts emphasis on the preparation of a product safety incident plan (PSIP). Its principles are scalable and relevant to businesses of any size.

How can I get a copy?

Small and medium size businesses (up to 250 employees) can download the Code of Practice for free here.

Hard copies are available to buy from the BSI online shop (link)

Want to find out more?

Visit the BSI website for more information about the Code of Practice.

This short video from OPSS explains how the guidance can support businesses.

 

 

 

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