Consumer policy

Consumer product safety work at the OECD


Working Party on Consumer Product Safety

Main objectives of the body  |  Background

Events  |  Further reading


Latest news

  • International awareness week (16-20 June 2014) on button battery safety

    “The OECD is playing a leading role in bringing together regulators from across the globe to tackle the enormous product safety challenges we all face.

    Information sharing is the key to making a difference. Sharing information on the serious injuries and deaths of children who have ingested button batteries – the small circular lithium batteries that are used to power a growing number of gadgets and toys – is a case in point.

    The OECD Working Party on Consumer Product Safety has initiated a campaign to raise awareness of this product safety challenge among consumers and the medical profession. Global action days are planned during 16-20 June 2014. This shows how an international organisation such as the OECD can have an important and positive impact on our daily lives.”

Andrew Wyckoff, Director of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation


  • Tracking and traceability. The Working Party on Consumer Product Safety has launched work on tracking and traceability, in follow-up to a project initiated by the International Consumer Product Safety Caucus (ICPSC). A questionnaire has been developed to provide stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on key issues. A copy of the questionnaire can be accessed by clicking here. The deadline for responses has been extended until 31 July 2014.


  • Global injury data project. Obtaining and analysing injury data is vital to following injury trends and flagging product hazards that may require intervention, be it through domestic or co-operative international efforts.  Yet few governments have a comprehensive injury data collection system. In fact, the majority don’t have the capacity to create, deploy, and operate such a system.
    The OECD Working Party on Consumer Product Safety has identified a need for improved injury data world-wide and for better capacity to analyse injury data at a global level.  The group plans to take work forward in this area with the aim to: 
    • Create and deploy an injury data collection and reporting system for domestic use by jurisdictions throughout the world. 
    • Ensure that participating jurisdictions can implement and sustain domestic systems.
    • Build and operate a web-based global injury data portal that pools data from multiple jurisdictions.

A roadmap for the project can be accessed by clicking here. As indicated, the first step would be to develop a business plan to help determine the feasibility of the project.  


  • Risk assessment. On 11 October 2013, a workshop on risk assessment was held in Australia. Attention focused on the approaches used to prioritise issues (i.e., triage), the methods used to code injury severity and the general approaches used to carry out risk assessment. The following documentation is available online (or is forthcoming):


Main objectives of the Working Party on Consumer Product Safety


Enhanced information-sharing mechanisms between and within countries are crucial. The OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy created the Working Party on Consumer Product Safety with the aim to promote:

  • exchange of information on problem products and injuries from products within and between economies.
  • development of methods for monitoring and assessing developments in consumer product safety, including developments in policy and enforcement.
  • co-operation between members and non-members on product safety issues of mutual interest.




  • Product safety issues have been at the heart of OECD work for decades. Since the 1970s, the OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy has developed a number of policy instruments with the common goal of improving product safety.
  • However, the rapidly changing market landscape with the new era of globalisation, Internet solutions, more sophisticated products and ever complex supply chains calls for more responsive actions from consumer policy makers and enforcement authorities. To enhance consumer safety worldwide, a roundtable was organised in October 2008, gathering experts from key OECD members and non-members.
  • At the 2008 roundtable, countries committed to increase product safety information-sharing across borders. They conducted an analytic review of the existing information-sharing mechanisms, identifying gaps and ways for more effective co-operation. The outcomes of this work are available in a report on enhancing information-sharing on consumer product safety and a ten-point action plan.
  • It was agreed that the implementation of these ambitious recommendations and enhanced co-operation would be possible under a new OECD Working Party on Consumer Product Safety. The involvement of non-OECD economies in this process is welcome. 




Official launch of the OECD global portal on product recalls
19 October 2012, Brussels, Belgium

Every day, new products are manufactured and sold across borders and online. Increased trade and more sophisticated designs can make it difficult to ensure that the products consumers buy are safe for them.

To help, the OECD is hosting the GlobalRecalls portal, which is the first online tool that contains regularly updated information on consumer product recalls issued by jurisdictions around the world. Now, users can find out about product issues in other jurisdictions presented in their own language. The portal was launched at the International Product Safety Week on 19 October 2012. Webcast | Press release


Workshop on product risk assessment

20 April 2012, Tel-Aviv, Israel

This event provided an opportunity to present and discuss the different approaches that are being used, and to apply those approaches to assess product risks.
Agenda | Instructions to participants for case studies | Workshop summary report


Further reading



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