News story

New guide to improve consumer product safety recalls

BSI Code of Practice will help businesses understand what to do if their product needs to be recalled.

  • First ever government-backed Code of Practice for product safety recalls published
  • new guidance will help businesses understand what they need to do if something goes wrong with their product
  • the move follows recommendations from safety experts commissioned by the government

The government’s new Office for Product Safety and Standards has teamed up with BSI, the UK’s National Standards Body, to launch the first government-backed Code of Practice (PAS 7100) for product safety recall in the UK.

The Code of Practice includes details on how a business can monitor the safety of products and plan for a recall, and how Market Surveillance Authorities such as local authority Trading Standards can support businesses in their monitoring of incidents and their implementation of corrective action.

The Code of Practice, developed by BSI, is the first major initiative for the new Office which was launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in January. It follows a recommendation by the Working Group on Products Recalls and Safety to introduce such a Code to further strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety regime.

This was created with the assistance of leading retailers, consumer interest groups and industry bodies, including Tesco, Samsung Electronics, British Retail Consortium, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers.

Consumer Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

This new Code of Practice will support businesses in dealing with product safety issues swiftly and effectively, ensuring people can continue to buy secure in the knowledge there is an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced.

Effective regulation is a key element of our Industrial Strategy, which is creating the conditions for businesses to succeed in the UK and to compete in the global economy.

Scott Steedman, Director of Standards at BSI said:

Public interest in product safety is higher than it has ever been and whilst consumer products generally perform without problems, there are times when products can become faulty and require a repair or recall.

The Code of Practice was created to ensure that corrective action by manufacturers is taken in a safe and systematic way. The launch of this guidance is an important step in ensuring even higher levels of product safety in the future.

The Code of Practice comes in two parts. The first part is focused on non-food consumer products and is intended for use by manufacturers, importers and distributors. It provides details on:

  • how a business can plan for a recall, including establishing mechanisms to deal with any product safety issue identified
  • managing a possible safety related product recall or other corrective action
  • establishing mechanisms to monitor the safety of products
  • investigating any potential product safety issue
  • reviewing corrective action programmes to ensure that product safety responsibilities continue to be met.

The second part is aimed at regulators, specifically Market Surveillance Authorities including local authority Trading Standards. It details how they can carry out their role in ensuring businesses meet their responsibilities in respect of consumer product safety issues by:

  • monitoring incidents and analysing data
  • supporting businesses in the preparation of their ‘product safety incident plan’ (PSIP)
  • supporting businesses in their monitoring of incidents and their implementation of appropriate corrective action.

Notes to Editors

PAS 7100 explains and applies existing legal requirements to be met by businesses or regulators. The following organisations were involved in the development of PAS 7100 as members of the steering group:

  • Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA)
  • Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers (ACTSO)
  • Baker & McKenzie LLP, British Retail Consortium (BRC)
  • British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA)
  • BSI Consumer and Public Interest Network
  • Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
  • Cooley (UK) LLP
  • Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Electrical Safety First (ESF)
  • London Fire Brigade; National Caravan Council (NCC)
  • National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCO)
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)
  • Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd
  • techUK
  • Wilco Retail Limited

BSI is the business improvement company that enables organizations to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence. For over a century BSI has championed what good looks like and driven best practice in organizations around the world. Working with over 86,000 clients across 193 countries, it is a truly international business with skills and experience across a number of sectors including automotive, aerospace, built environment, food, and healthcare. Through its expertise in Standards Development and Knowledge Solutions, Assurance and Professional Services, BSI improves business performance to help clients grow sustainably, manage risk and ultimately be more resilient.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards was set up in January 2018 in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to enhance protections for consumers and the environment and to drive increased productivity, growth and business confidence. It will build national capacity within the UK’s product safety system and develop tools that support small business growth and implement the Industrial Strategy vision of simplifying regulation. This includes taking forward the work of the Regulatory Delivery directorate on Primary Authority, the Regulators’ Code and technical regulation.

Published 7 March 2018