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Mandatory reporting of unsafe products – ACCC update

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Businesses must report unsafe products

As a franchisee or franchisor, did you know that if a product you supplied causes serious injury, illness or death, you must report this to the Commonwealth Minister responsible for consumer protection and fair trading?

Since 1 January 2011, businesses (large and small) are required to report any unsafe products they have sold that have caused serious injury, illness or death. Reporting is simple and can be done by completing an online form on the ACCC’s product safety website www.productsafety.gov.au/mandatoryreporting.

The new law applies to all participants in the supply chain. This includes retailers, dealers, hirers, distributors, installers, repairers, importers, exporters and manufacturers.

The mandatory reporting laws also apply if you provide a service that is related to a product. For example if you service washing machines and a client tells you that it has caused them an injury that required medical attention, by law you need to report this.

Mandatory reporting is not an admission of liability. It is there to protect Australian consumers from unsafe products and also identifies which products are risks to the public. Reports may lead to safety warnings or education campaigns or products being pulled from shelves or recalled.

Since the introduction of this law reports received by the ACCC covered a range of products from toys, toiletries and motor vehicles. Mandatory reporting has triggered 40 recalls in the first six months of 2011. Some of the products that were recalled had reports that associated them with anaphylactic and allergic reactions, burns, electrocution, choking hazards, cuts and lacerations.

Further information

For more information on your reporting obligations and guidelines to help you understand what you need to do please visit the ACCC’s Product Safety Australia website www.productsafety.gov.au/mandatoryreporting.

Alternatively, for further information and advice please contact John Sier of our Corporate Advisory team.