News story: Safer online shopping and selling for International Product Safety Week

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The UK’s product safety watchdog is today backing an awareness campaign to ensure products are safe and that sellers of goods know their legal responsibilities.

The Government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which works to enhance protection for consumers and the environment, is backing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Product Safety week campaign.

According to recent OECD research, a sample of 60 selected products found 55% did not comply with product safety standards and 68% of products that were identified as banned or recalled were supplied online. These unsafe or defective products can be dangerous and cause injury or death to unsuspecting consumers.

Graham Russell, Office for Product Safety and Standards CEO said:


Changes to the way we shop give us many opportunities but can introduce new hazards. We all need confidence that the goods we buy, online as well as in shops, are safe. That’s why we are working with local Trading Standards services to coordinate expertise, identify consumer risks and improve UK product recalls - ensuring that businesses understand their responsibilities.

The launch of the Office for Product Safety and Standards demonstrates the Government’s commitment to keeping people safe in their homes.

As part of International Product Safety Week, sellers are urged to sell safe products online, share product safety information with consumers in the UK and abroad, know which products should not be sold, provide up-to-date contact details for consumers and authorities and effectively communicate product safety concerns to those affected if required.

Buyers also have a responsibility when purchasing goods online. They should know who they’re buying from so they can contact sellers if they need to, read safety warnings and instructions to make the best choices and check ratings and reviews of products before buying.

The European Commission is calling for product safety professionals all over the world to speak with one voice to develop policy and effective enforcement in the area of non-food consumer product safety. The move comes on International Product Safety Week, which will see product safety in the spotlight as professionals come together for the annual Connecting Safety event in Brussels.

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