5 Important Things About Australian Product Safety Standards
Are you in any way involved in supplying products to consumers in Australia? If so, it is important for you to know that as a manufacturer or supplier you are obligated to comply with certain mandatory safety standards under ACL (Australian Consumer Law) and that there are consequences and penalties for non-compliance.
The Product Safety Rules and Standards is one such law that enforces mandatory product safety standards and unsafe goods can be banned under the CCA (Competition and Consumer Act of 2010).
What Is Required To Comply With Safety Standards?
If you plan to sell products on the Australian market they need to have clear instructions for the proper use of that particular product and warnings against possible misuse. You must use quality control measures to ensure that your products:
Meet mandatory safety standards
When used in a reasonable manner will not cause harm (this includes reasonable misuse)
Non-conformance to mandatory safety standards will put you at risk of breach and the CCA can take appropriate action against you.
One way to ensure that you conform to compliance with safety laws is to conduct EMC testing for certain products to ensure that they meet mandatory safety standards. Mandatory EMC standards are applicable across the world.
EMC standards are there to ensure that electronic devices do not emit electromagnetic radiation to the extent that it interferes with the operation of other nearby devices. By using EMC testing wisely, you can ensure that the products you develop will clear EMC tests from the design stage, saving you time and money.
Following are 5 things that are important to know when it comes to Australian product safety standards:
1). Product Safety And Consumer Guarantees
Under Australian Consumer Law consumers can expect the goods they purchase to be:
Safe for use
Without any defects or faults
Perform the functions normally expected from such a product
If your products do not meet these basic standards you may be liable to refund, repair, or replace the product.
2). Manufacturer And Product Liability
If you have provided the consumer with a solution for the defect you can claim compensation from the manufacturer under a Manufacturing Agreement if you have one.
If the identity of the manufacturer is unknown, for example when buying directly from a wholesaler, you will be held responsible for the safety defect. Some of the practices you can put in place to reduce the risk of product safety defects include:
Conducting regular safety checks
Adopting appropriate procedures for product safety quality assurance
Providing consumers with clear safety instructions for use
Providing instructions and a disclaimer for products that may pose a choking hazard
Recalling any products that are found to be unsafe or defective from the market or from the distribution centre of a retailer
3). Product Bans
In Australia, product bans are imposed where there is a risk of temporary or permanent serious illness, injury, or death. A temporary ban can be imposed by the Commonwealth Minister or state/territory ministers in the following circumstances:
The product may or will cause injury through use or misuse
A ban has already been imposed on a product by another minister
Interim Bans In Australia
Interim bans imposed by a Commonwealth Minister will apply country-wide whereas state or territory bans will apply only to the relevant state/territory. Businesses affected by the ban will be given the opportunity to voice any concerns they have about the ban at a conference.
However, where there is imminent danger to the consumer public, no conference will be held before the ban is imposed and the minister is not obliged to notify the supplier of the ban or offer an opportunity for a conference. However, the supplier will be given an opportunity to have a conference shortly after the ban is imposed.
Permanent Bans In Australia
Where a Commonwealth Minister declares a permanent ban it will be applied nationally. If a permanent ban is proposed, the Commonwealth Minister is required to publish the ban notice online. The supplier will be given the opportunity to request a conference to discuss the ban with the ACC.
4). How To Comply With A Product Ban
If a product is banned it will be unlawful for a supplier to:
Offer to supply;
Have control of the banned product.
The ban will apply to:
5). Mandatory Standards That Apply To Certain Products
Mandatory standards make it compulsory for information and safety features to be displayed on products. Mandatory standards are applicable to certain products that are reasonably expected to reduce or prevent risk of injury to a user. These include:
Baby bath aids
Balloon blowing kits
Basketball rings and backboards
Mandatory Recalls And Reporting
Where a product is believed to pose a risk that may cause injury to a user, the ACL requires it to be recalled. Recalls also apply to products that do not comply with relevant mandatory safety standards.
The ACL requires a supplier to report any suspicion or awareness of serious injury, illness, or death related to a product supplied. The supplier is required to file a report within 2 days of the perceived incident. All participants involved in the supply chain of a product, including the manufacturer, supplier, wholesaler, or importer are required to provide a mandatory report.
There are strict laws that govern the safety obligations of suppliers. Consumers have a right to expect the products they purchase to be safe and without defects. If not they are entitled to a refund, repair, or replacement. Failure by the supplier to meet product safety standards may result in fines, penalties, or mandatory recall of products.
Compliance Engineering offers accredited testing services for a broad range of products in particular compliance with EMC regulations in Australia.
EMC regulations are mandatory in Australia and apply to almost all electrical and electronic products supplied to the market.
We provide the highest standard of environmental testing that measures the performance of specific products under particular environmental conditions.
Please call us today at Compliance Engineering on + 61 3 9763 3079 or leave an enquiry.