The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) launched its Consumer Product Safety Information Database today. This database is accessible through the CPSC-administered website at http://www.saferproducts.gov.
Section 6A of the Consumer Product Safety Act requires the CPSC to maintain a publicly available, searchable and Internet-accessible database listing reports of harm and risks of harm associated with consumer products. These reports can be filed by a wide range of individuals, including consumers, government agencies, health care professionals, child service providers and public safety entities. The CPSC has defined “consumers” to include not just the actual users, but also family members, relatives, parents, guardians, friends, attorneys, investigators, professional engineers, agents of a user of a consumer product and observers of the consumer products being used.
Once a report of harm is submitted by an individual, the CPSC has 5 business days to examine the report and determine whether it contains all the necessary information for publication. It will then transmit the report to the named manufacturer, importer or private labeler, and will publish the report no later than 10 days after transmittal. The manufacturer may submit comments responding to the report of harm at any time, and its comments will be published and viewable alongside the report. However, the CPSC is required to publish every eligible report within the 10-day window unless the manufacturer claims that the report contains confidential information (which would only cause the confidential portion to be redacted) or unless the CPSC determines that the report contains materially inaccurate information.
Any manufacturer or importer of consumer products is well-advised to register with the CPSC through its Business Portal. By registering, companies will be able to receive timely notices from the CPSC of reports of harm involving their products, so that they may make the most of the 10-day window to investigate the report. Companies should be vigilant about monitoring any reports of harm that may implicate their manufactured or imported products. The CPSC cannot and will not verify whether the reports of harm it receives are accurate, complete or adequate, and it disclaims any such guarantees on its website. It is up to the manufacturer to ensure that the reports published in the database are not inaccurate or misleading.