New consumer product safety rules in place

United Kingdom

The UK Regulations implementing the amended European General Product Safety Directive laid before Parliament on 6 July will come into force on 1 October 2005.

The amended Directive introduces important duties for producers and distributors of consumer products to monitor their safety in use, and notify the existence of dangerous products to the authorities.

The UK Regulations include two interesting new provisions:

  1. the DTI will provide a notification service to all other EU Member State authorities, saving UK producers and distributors the necessity of doing this themselves if they do not wish to
  2. in order to try to avoid a situation where a local Trading Standards Officer triggers a recall unnecessarily, a producer/distributor may insist on an ADR mechanism to be invoked (early neutral evaluation by a judge appointed by The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators).

An important future development was announced in the recent DTI Consumer Strategy, under which a new national body will be established to regulate national businesses on consumer trading issues, thereby avoiding the need to liaise with over 200 Trading Standards Departments and the "home authority" principle.