The new National Product Safety Laws came into effect at the beginning of this year with the new Australian Consumer Law, and allows for permanent bans and standards made by the Commonwealth to have effect in all States and Territories. If you are a supplier or manufacturer you have an obligation to ensure that you market only safe products. You must ensure that your products meet relevant safety standards, provide clear instructions for proper use and include warnings against possible misuse.
Product suppliers and manufacturers have an obligation to ensure that only safe products are marketed, by:
• providing clear instructions for use, including warnings against possible misuse
• being aware of and meeting industry and mandatory standards
• developing product recall plans and procedures including effective communication strategies to the public (eg advertisements in papers)
• incorporating safety into product design
• developing appropriate safety standards through product improvement
• implementing a quality assurance program which includes consumer feedback
• responding quickly to safety concerns that arise.
Mandatory safety standards are specific requirements for consumer goods or products. All goods and products your business supplies must comply with any set mandatory safety standards. Mandatory safety standards can apply to:
• how a good is made
• how it works
• what it contains
• how it is tested
• warnings or instructions the good must come with.
Information standards can also apply to goods and products, for example whether the ingredients of a product need to be displayed on the packaging.
Since the new laws have come into play, Australia wide bans have already been put in place on some unsafe products. A supplier of goods that are found to be in breach of these bans can be prosecuted and fined up to $1.1 million and can also be required to recall the goods at their expense. Some of these products include:
Inflatable toys, novelties and furniture containing beads
Inflatable toys, novelties or furniture which may be inflated by the mouth and contain small beads or pellets that may be inhaled during inflation or deflation.
Pools and spas with unsafe design features
‘Potty skimmers’ designed for installation in domestic swimming pools or spas; pool or spa outlets which are not designed to reduce or minimise the likelihood of entrapment of any part of a person’s body or hair; transportable swimming pools or spas which contain integrally moulded potty skimmers or outlets that are not designed to reduce or minimise the likelihood of entrapment of any part of a person’s body or hair.
Toy-like novelty cigarette lighters
Toy-like novelty cigarette lighters that are likely to be appealing to children under 5 years of age by appearing to be a toy, including the depiction of stylised animals, cartoon characters or be of colours or a scale typical of toys.
Amongst other things, the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) sets national safety standards that your business must comply with if you supply any product or service. If you don’t comply with mandatory standards, you risk action being taken against you under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) (formerly known as the Trade Practices Act 1974).
As a business owner you must ensure that your products are up to the safety standards set by the new National Product Safety Laws. You must also provide clear instructions for the proper use of the product and include warnings against all the possible ways a consumer could misuse your product. If you have any questions about the new laws submit an online enquiry or contact The Quinn Group’s experienced team of lawyers, who can assist your business in understanding the New Consumer Laws and the associated Product Safety Laws, call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.