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SMEs reminded of mandatory product safety reporting requirements

In the 6 months since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) introduced its mandatory reporting product safety requirement, 911 reports triggered a total 40 recalls, but the organisation believes many SMEs may not be fulfilling their responsibilities.

A total of 911 mandatory reports were received by the ACCC during the first six months of 2011 and the intelligence provided by these reports and the ACCC’s product safety data clearinghouse triggered 40 recalls during the period.

“Mandatory reporting has resulted in a significant improvement in product safety with the removal of hundreds of unsafe products from the marketplace” ACCC Deputy Chair Peter Kell said.

The ACCC is using the figures as an opportunity to remind businesses they are required to notify the ACCC within two days if they become aware a product they’ve supplied has caused, or may have caused serious injury, illness or death.

“As the majority of these reports have come from large organisations, the ACCC is concerned that small and medium sized enterprises may not yet be fulfilling their mandatory requirements.”

Approximately 40 percent of reports have come from retailers, 40 percent from manufacturers, and 20 percent from other suppliers.

“It’s important for suppliers to remember that the law makes it clear that a mandatory report is not an admission of liability and an ACCC assessment will only lead to a product recall when it is necessary to protect consumers.”

The laws apply to anyone in the business of selling, exchanging, leasing, hiring or hire-purchasing of goods, or the granting or conferring of product-related services such as repair or installation.

The ACCC confirmed there are strict confidentiality requirements around mandatory reports, which mean details of recalls triggered by mandatory reporting cannot be released. However, the ACCC can confirm that the products were associated with anaphylactic and allergic reactions, burns, electrocution, choking hazards, cuts and lacerations.