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Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Announces Record Year For Recalls, Civil Penalties, and Reports of Dangerous Products

Oct 31, 2005 | The CPSC has announced, that in the current fiscal year, it has set several records in important safety including recalls of defective consumer products, civil penalties imposed for industry failure to report hazardous products, and industry reports of possible consumer product hazards.

CPSC recalled 397 consumer products in fiscal year 2005, the highest number of recalls for the agency in 10 years.  The agency also just had another milestone, with its single largest, individual product recall that involved metal vending machine jewelry.

There were also new records for the number of recalls involving rechargeable batteries (10) and hazardous all-terrain vehicles (15).

The amount of civil penalties imposed for failure to report defective consumer products to the agency also reached an all-time high with $8.8 million in fines being imposed against six companies.

“One of our top priorities has been to encourage companies to follow the law and report possible hazards to CPSC,” said Chairman Hal Stratton. “I believe that imposing penalties against companies who fail to comply with the law will result in a higher degree of reporting and compliance with our statutes. Improved reporting compliance should also result in fewer penalties in the future.”

Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and importers are required by law to report to CPSC when a product:

·    does not comply with a safety rule;
·    has a potentially hazardous defect that could create a substantial risk of injury to the public; or
·    presents an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death.

CPSC received 547 such reports in fiscal year 2005, representing an increase of almost 100 reports over fiscal year 2004’s record high.

One reason for this increase in such reporting is a new Retailer Reporting Model implemented by CPSC with Wal-Mart. Under the new model, Wal-Mart reports detailed information about costumer complaints and product safety incidents to CPSC.

This reporting model is a new source of early warning safety information, and has prompted more reporting by manufacturers and by other retailers.

“We’re pleased with the increase of consumer product safety data and information we are receiving, which I believe is a result of cooperative efforts between our staff and stakeholders, as well as the new Retailer Reporting Model,” Stratton noted. “This type of information will help us keep more consumers safe in the future.”

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