Author Archives: Product Liability Playbook

Forman Mills Agrees to Pay $600,000 Civil Penalty For Its Failure to Report to The Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from consumer  products. Under the federal law, a manufacturer, distributor or retailer must report within 24 hours of learning that a product contains a defect which would create an unreasonable risk of injury or death. Forman Mills’ failure to do so resulted in charges by the CPSC, which on April 8, 2014, settled for $600,000. In 1996, the CPSC issued…

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Issues a Final Rule Increasing Safety Standards for Strollers and Carriages

On May 20, 2013, the CPSC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for carriages and strollers in which they proposed changes to strengthen the provisions in the voluntary standards. On March 4, 2014, the Commission voted unanimously in favor of these updated safety guidelines in an effort to address the dangers associated with these products. The CPSC examined incident data reports from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012 and discovered four stroller related fatalities and over 1200 stroller related non-fatal incidents were reported during…

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Portable Generators Linked to Carbon Monoxide Deaths

With the increase in violent storms and extreme weather causing more power outages, the number of homes using portable generators has dramatically increased in recent years. Portable generators have fuel burning engines and the exhaust emitted from these engines contains dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide. When used indoors or in enclosed spaces, the exhaust from portable generators can be fatal. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in a recent report, found that portable generators were linked to more than 85 percent of non-fire carbon…

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues a Final Rule for Infant Bedside Sleepers

The ASTM defines bedside sleepers as “a rigid frame assembly that may be combined with a fabric or mesh assembly, or both, used to function as sides, ends, or floor or a combination thereof, and that is intended to provide a sleeping environment for infants and is secured to an adult bed.”  They are designed to allow newborns to sleep close to their parents without having to be in the parents bed. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously on January 8, 2014 to…

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Voluntary Recalls Under The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) May Not Be So Voluntary Any Longer

On November 13, 2013, the CPSC proposed an interpretive rule setting forth the rules and guidelines for items that would now be required as part of a company’s voluntary recall process. Under the current regulations, a company must provide a voluntary recall notice to the public as part of their corrective action plan (CAP) which sets forth the remedial actions they intend to take as part of the voluntary product recall process. The CPSC works with companies to develop corrective action plans as a means…

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Is Your Red Plastic Gas Can a Potential Bomb Waiting to Explode?

Answer: Yes. According to recent investigations conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), there have been at least 80 separate incidents that have led to lawsuits over the past two decades. In addition, there have been at least 11 reported deaths since 1988 and approximately 1,200 emergency room visits from 1988 to 2012. Explosions occur when gas vapors escape from the gas can and come in contact with an ignition source, such as a flame or spark. The ignited vapor must travel back into…

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CPSC to Issue Final Rule Increasing Standards for Bath Seats and Toddler Beds

Pursuant to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (the act), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is required to promulgate safety standards for durable infant and toddler products. The act requires the CPSC to develop standards that are “substantially the same as the voluntary standards” as set forth by the ASTM. The ASTM is a globally recognized leader in the development of international voluntary consensus standards. The act, however, permits the CPSC to promulgate more stringent standards if the CPSC determines that it would decrease…

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New Rules Regarding Safety Standards For Bassinets and Cradles To Be Issued By The Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA, Pub. L. 110-314) was enacted on August 14, 2008. Section 104(b) of the CPSIA, part of the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to promulgate consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products. The Act requires the CPSC to promulgate a mandatory standard for bassinets and cradles. The Commission is adopting the ASTM F2194-13 standards with five modifications or additions that will address a variety…

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Series – Product Recalls: What Every Company Needs to Know – Step 5: Tracking your Recall, Part Two

In this eleventh and final edition of our series outlining the step by step process for reporting and, if necessary, recalling a product, we further analyze what a company can do to effectively and economically track a product that becomes the subject of a recall. The legislative purpose behind the CPSC is to protect the public from hazardous products and to efficiently retrieve these products from the stream of commerce to prevent and/or reduce further risk to the public. To advance this purpose, and to…

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Series – Product Recalls: What Every Company Needs to Know – Step 5: Tracking your Recall

In this tenth edition of our continuing series, we analyze how to effectively, efficiently and economically track a product that falls under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). As the old saying goes, “the best defense is a good offense.” Similarly here, a proactive approach for early detection of product safety problems will save a company both time and money if and when a product encounters safety issues. The first step to developing a company policy for the early identification of defective…

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