How Does the Consumer Product Safety Commission Work?
Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2018 at 7:58 pm
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was established through the Consumer Product Safety Act of 1972. It is the federal government organization that evaluates consumer products, catalogs and analyzes industry safety studies and consumer complaints, and coordinates recall efforts for unsafe consumer products.1
Some of the ways the CPSC proactively and retroactively protects the public from potentially dangerous products include:
- Working with industry designers and manufacturers on the development of safety standards
- Enforcing those agreed upon voluntary safety standards
- Potentially banning certain consumer products if there is no way to adequately protect consumers from the risks associated with those products
- Coordinating recalls and assisting with the arrangement of sometimes massive repair, replacement and refund efforts
- Performing testing and research on potentially hazardous consumer products
- Educating consumers as well as local and federal government agencies and private organizations on product safety and fielding related questions
Tools for Consumers
- http://www.saferproducts.gov/ – Here you can file reports on consumer products you believe are unsafe
- Official CPSC Safety Guides – From cribs and toys to clothing and containers, the CPSC has created and compiled a plethora of resources to inform and educate the public on potential consumer product hazards
- Other Safety Education Resources – Households with children or at-risk individuals would likely benefit from perusing the many safety resources and publications available through the CPSC’s safety education page
- The CPSC Recall List and https://www.recalls.gov/ – You can stay regularly updated with current CPSC recalls by occasionally visiting their recall list or searching for products you use or own that may be dangerous
The Effects of CPSC Regulatory Actions
Although the CPSC isn’t exactly a household name that’s always making headline news, it is a very active agency within the federal government. A quick search on any news aggregator will likely pop up several very recent stories about CPSC regulatory actions, although they’re often broadcast to a somewhat niche audience because not all recalls are relevant to every consumer.
For example, as of the writing of this blog, the CPSC is embroiled in a fight with stroller manufacturer Britax Child Safety, Inc. The CPSC alleges the company’s jogging strollers are responsible for at least 97 injuries. There have been more than 200 documented complaints of wheels detaching from the strollers.
The CPSC ordered the company to recall the jogging stroller due to this design defect since it poses a proven risk to the children riding in the strollers and the adults pushing them. Britax refused to recall the strollers, claiming that the jogging strollers are safe when used as instructed. Britax also states that the strollers exceed regulatory performance requirements and were extensively tested prior to release.
On February 16, 2018, the CPSC filed an administrative complaint against Britax, similar to a lawsuit, due to the company’s refusal to recall the jogging strollers.2
Have You Been Injured by a Consumer Device?
If you or a loved one has been injured by a consumer product that you believe featured a design flaw, improper warnings or inadequate instructions for using the product safely, you may be eligible for compensation. You can contact the product liability attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP by calling (205) 324-1212 and scheduling a free case evaluation.