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17 January 2019
It is an alarming scenario for any consumer product manufacturer seeking to manage a complex international supply chain: a minor supplier changes a material used in a single component, neglects to pass on that information, and inadvertently introduces a restricted substance into your consumer product which is then put on the market in multiple jurisdictions.
In a recent case, our environment and product stewardship team was called to support a global electronics business that had discovered that a substance restricted under EU Directive 2011/65/EU for the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electronic and electrical equipment (the RoHS Directive) had been detected in a limited batch of products that had been placed on the market across the EU. We advised on the relevant obligations under the product compliance and safety regime, acting alongside a team of leading European law firms. The firm provided strategic advice and managed all interactions with the new UK regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (the OPSS). A proportionate level of corrective actions has now been agreed with the OPSS, aligning the necessary commercial objectives of the client with the safety of the UK consumer and environment.
It's a familiar story, and one that demonstrates the importance of control not just over your own manufacturing processes but also throughout the supply chain.
Our top tips are as follows:
The OPSS was created in January 2018 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and is tasked with improving protections for consumers and the environment and driving increased productivity, growth and business confidence. Its creation was followed in March 2018 by the publication of a new code of practice on consumer product safety recalls and corrective actions (PAS 7100:2018), which was produced in collaboration with The British Standards Institution. It is understood that, to date, the OPSS has received only a handful of notifications under the new regime.
Burges Salmon regularly advises companies in relation to product compliance and safety. We provide compliance advice, audit, transactional support, corporate defence, dispute resolution and advocacy services and work closely with our wider product stewardship, safety, compliance and recall team, which covers all aspects of product liability law across all product lines.
For further information on this topic please contact Simon Tilling or Tom Gillett at Burges Salmon LLP by telephone (+44 117 939 2000) or email (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Burges Salmon LLP website can be accessed at www.burges-salmon.com.
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