7 July 2010 - The OECD is intensifying efforts to improve the safety of consumer products in national and international markets by creating a new Working Party to implement a ten-point action plan. The Working Party on Consumer Product Safety will bring senior product safety officials from Member and non-Member economies together to advance an ambitious programme that focuses on improving information sharing and promoting greater co-operation among enforcement authorities worldwide.
The creation of a global recalls database based on publicly available information will be one of the first initiatives to be implemented by the Working Party. It will assist regulators across the world to identify issues at an early stage, helping to facilitate prompt co-ordinated actions to remove products posing serious health and safety risks to consumers from markets.
“A number of high profile recalls worldwide have focussed attention on safety problems and their global nature,” says Michael Jenkin, Chairman of the OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy. “The Committee on Consumer Policy reacted quickly, bringing key players to the table to explore the scope of the problem and ways to address concerns. We concluded that more openness in sharing information on unsafe products is much needed and that the OECD provided a good forum for advancing this work. The Working Party was created with this in mind.”
The mandate of the new Working Party calls for it to i) promote the exchange of information on problem products and injuries from products within and between economies, ii) promote the development of methods for monitoring and assessing developments in consumer product safety, including developments in policy and enforcement and iii) promote co-operation between Members and non-Members on product safety issues of mutual interest.
Experts are making progress in designing the web-based recalls database, which may be operational in 2011. The portal is being tailored to meet the needs of product safety agencies, but it will also be open to the public. Work is also advancing on a second objective, which involves the development of a mechanism through which countries will be able inform each other of major policy developments on a regular basis. Details on these two initiatives, as well as eight other action points, are contained in the recently released OECD Report on Enhancing Information on Consumer Product Safety.
For further information on the product safety work, please contact Ewelina Marek, of the OECD’s Consumer Policy Unit (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit the OECD’s consumer product safety website at: