Product safety law

Prevent product safety problems

Guide

Producers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers all have a responsibility to ensure that products are safe. You should:

  • consider safety at every stage, from initial design through to selling
  • check whether there are any specific regulations or safety standards applying to your product and that you meet them

Safety concerns in the early stages of design

Taking into account the safety aspects of your products from the outset of design can help limit your liabilities as you may find it easier to comply with current and future legislation if your products are easier to produce, use, maintain and dispose of.

Focusing on the research and design of your products during the early stages of development may also boost your competitiveness through a number of ways such as:

  • efficient use of raw materials and resources
  • improved product quality
  • reducing or removing hazardous materials from your processes
  • better preparation for the end of your product's lifecycle
  • increased market share and better customer relationships

While you are creating your product, check that no harm will be caused to makers and consumers by any of the materials or finishing techniques used.

Once a sample of your product is ready for use, check that:

  • it is strong enough to support any loads involved
  • it can't produce any toxic, harmful, or adverse effects on the user or consumer
  • the materials used are suitable for the purpose and safe for users
  • all hazards have been sufficiently controlled, eg electrical insulation, moving parts, folding components, noise and poor ergonomic design

When you dispose of a product, check that the parts and materials can be dismantled without causing harm or releasing toxic or harmful substances. Ensure that the recycling of any parts or materials will not release toxic or harmful substances.

Prevent safety problems for suppliers

To prevent safety issues, suppliers must:

  • give customers any safety information provided by the producer
  • investigate safety complaints, and tell the manufacturer
  • co-operate with Trading Standards officers

Think about ways to protect yourself if you are sued such as by purchasing product liability insurance to cover damages and legal costs. See product liability insurance.