The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released a notice of proposed rulemaking that would implement a requirement under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 that the agency establish and maintain a publicly available consumer product safety information database. While CPSC has always gathered information about product-related injuries or incidents for consumer goods within its jurisdiction, it could not disclose that information without first giving manufacturers the opportunity to comment on it. The proposed rule, to be codified at 16 C.F.R. Part 1102, would allow consumers, public health officials, day care providers, and others to submit reports of harm through the CPSC’s Internet Website or via phone, e-mail or written report.

The proposed rule would require that specific information be provided in these incident reports, including verification that the information is true and accurate and a consent to publish the report on the database, if the submitter so wishes. The CPSC would forward redacted versions of the reports to the manufacturer; the proposed rule has provisions for a manufacturer to comment on a report of harm where it is identified as the manufacturer and to verify and affirmatively request that the comment be published on the database.

Manufacturers may request that confidential information be designated as such and removed before an incident report is published, and the proposed rule would give manufacturers a way to obtain a court order to remove confidential information that has been published on the database. Manufacturer comments may be designated as materially inaccurate, and the person making that request must justify it. If successful, the comment would be excluded from the database. Manufacturers would also have a procedure under the rule to have incident reports designated as materially inaccurate. Voluntary and mandatory recall information would be accessible and searchable. See Federal Register, May 24, 2010.