The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released figures for the first six months of the mandatory reporting product safety requirement under the Australian Consumer Law.
A total of 911 mandatory reports were received by the ACCC during the first six months of 2011. Intelligence provided by these reports and the ACCC’s product safety data clearinghouse triggered 40 recalls during this 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 now reminding businesses that they must notify the ACCC within two days if they become aware that a product they have 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," Mr Kell said.
"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. Approximately 40 per cent of reports have come from retailers, 40 per cent from manufacturers, and 20 per cent from other suppliers.
There are also strict confidentiality requirements around mandatory reports which mean details of recalls triggered by mandatory reporting cannot be released. However, the ACCC can confirm that these recalled products were associated with anaphylactic and allergic reactions, burns, electrocution, choking hazards, cuts and lacerations.
The ACCC received mandatory reports covering a range of product categories, from food and groceries to children’s products, and from cosmetics and toiletries to motor vehicles.
481 of the 911 confidential reports received, were or are currently being assessed by the ACCC and 430 were referred to other regulators. The ACCC works with regulators such as Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), as well as industry bodies like the Australian Food and Grocery Council, to streamline arrangements for their industries.
The ACCC continues to work with suppliers to raise awareness about mandatory reporting and to streamline the reporting process by improving the online reporting form.
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