Around the world … COPOLCO member news
Canadian Parliament passes new act on product safety
On 14 December 2010, the Canadian Parliament passed the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA), an important step towards signing new product safety requirements into law.
The new CCPSA will better protect the health and safety of Canadians by:
- prohibiting the manufacture, import, advertisement or sale of any consumer products that pose an unreasonable danger to human health or safety;
- requiring industry to report a serious incident, or death, related to their product, so as to provide government with timely information about important product safety issues;
- requiring manufacturers or importers to provide test/study results on products when asked;
- allowing Health Canada to recall dangerous consumer products; and raising fines and penalties for non-compliance.
An accelerated implementation plan is being developed in order to facilitate the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act coming into force in the next few months. To make the transition from the Hazardous Products Act to the new legislation as smooth as possible, the Government will be actively communicating with industry to inform them of the coming-into-force date and their new obligations and requirements under the Act. The Government is also committed to keeping consumers informed as to how the legislation will affect them and the products they buy.
Over the past year, the Harper Government has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to consumer product safety through new regulations on lead, cribs and cradles, and surface coating materials. With the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, the Government will continue to provide a high level of protection for Canadians and will be able to do even more to address emerging consumer product safety issues.
For more information, consult the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act Web site: www.health.gc.ca/ccpsa
Joint project brings stakeholder participation to product safety standards
The National Institute of Standardization (INN) and the National Consumer Service (SERNAC) have established a joint project to develop safety standards for children's products. As part of the effort, these organizations jointly established a national mirror committee involving various stakeholders. They also invited consumer organizations and civil society to a standards development workshop.
INN and SERNAC will run a first phase of the project through 2011 and will produce five Chilean standards related to product safety, under the terms of their Agreement on Mutual Cooperation and Assistance. This initiative was funded by SERNAC. It focuses on non-food consumer products, and aims to improve consumer safety by promoting enhanced stakeholder participation and alignment with international standards.
Members of the mirror committee include stakeholders from government agencies, manufacturers of children's products, laboratories, consumer organizations, and others. Its purpose is to review the documents produced by ISO committees such as ISO/TC 240, Product recall, and ISO/TC 243 Consumer product safety. It will also cover COPOLCO working groups dealing with product safety, global marketplace issues and the revision of ISO/IEC Guide 37 on instructions for use of consumer products.
ISO/TC 240 and ISO/TC 243 hold joint meeting
SERNAC hosted the joint meeting of ISO/TC 240 and ISO/TC 243 on 15-18 November 2010. The meeting allowed these technical committees to prepare their drafts for submission as Committee Drafts.
An awareness-raising workshop for nine consumer organizations and three non-governmental organizations took place jointly with the technical committee meetings. The participants discussed issues related to product safety, standards-sharing tools, and the impact of standards on daily life. Other important themes included the relationships between suppliers, consumers and standards; weighing of different priorities for issues affecting quality of life; and methods of communication to consumers.
A consumer platform, "Top-normy", introduces safety mark for children's playgrounds
The newly-established Cabinet for Standardization (“www.top-normy.cz”), a collaborative effort of the Czech Office for Standards, Metrology and Testing (UNMZ) and the Czech Consumer Association, has developed a safety mark for the performance of children’s playgrounds and similar premises (www.overenehriste.cz).
The mark is administered by a consortium composed of the Czech Consumer Association, the Cabinet for Standardization and a specialized organization, SOTKVO. The consortium manages the assessment and inspection of child playgrounds, sport fields, gymnasiums and similar sites. Premises undergoing site assessment, and which meet requirements, are certified with the mark, “ assessed premises” (see the mark above).
How the mark works
A 3rd party inspector conducts a technical audit of the premises; the assessment is performed in conformity with European standards. Periodical inspections then take place to verify that the quality and safety of the service offered by the premises is sustained.
The mark is displayed at the entrance of the premises and provides assurance to users (e.g. parents) that the premises operate under regular, independent and technically competent inspection.
At the beginning of November 2010, the Cabinet organized an international seminar on the safety of children’s playgrounds. Approximately 120 participants attended this seminar. The first group of three children’s playgrounds has now been granted the license to use the new safety mark.
Model for consumer participation now fully operational
The Czech Consumer Association established the Cabinet for Standardization (“Top-normy”) early in 2010 (See ISO Consumer update, No. 02) as a joint project with UNMZ. The Cabinet is legally registered as a public service organization with the aim to "professionalize" consumer participation in standardization. This involves enhancing expertise, and retaining a stable cadre of trained consumer representatives and experts to participate in standards development at the national, European and international levels.
The Cabinet benefits from bilateral support arrangements with the EEA and Norway, as well as support from UNMZ.
For more information, contact Mr. Libor Dupal, Chairman of the Czech Consumer Association and Director of the Cabinet, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Improving health care for all — the role for standards
At some time, we all need health care for ourselves, our family or friends. A meeting of the British Standards Institution Consumer & Public Interest Network (BSI/CPIN) which took place on 8 December brought this message home to participants, and allowed useful exchanges to take place. Ms. Lynn Faulds Wood, CPIN Chair and President of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), moderated this workshop.
Mr. Colin Adamson, a consultant in customer service, presented a recent UK government White Paper on making the National Health Service “more responsive to patients… achieve better outcomes, with increased autonomy and clearer accountability”. Mr. Paul Whaley, from the Cancer Prevention and Education Society, addressed the potentially harmful effects of chemicals in the environment.
The day included a lively Q & A session and workshops covering how further standards programmes might evolve in the wake of the White Paper and in relation to differences in public and private health care provision.
See www.bsigroup.com/consumers for presentations.
Fair and flexible services for all
BSI has published new leaflets to inform the general public of two new British Standards, aimed at the most vulnerable consumers and at otherwise under-served consumers. Both leaflets had strong input from BSI CPI representatives.
The British Standard for Inclusive Service Provision, BS 18477 sets guidelines to help organizations provide fair, flexible service to consumers regardless of their health, age or personal circumstances. It also helps service providers take account of newly-vulnerable consumers (e.g. newly unemployed, bereaved, or suffering from progressive disability).
Many types of organizations and consumers worked together to develop the British Standard for Web Accessibility, BS 8878, taking account of other recognized guidance such as the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The standard sets guidelines to help organizations make their web products accessible to as many people as possible.
Consumer leaflets in an accessible PDF format will shortly be available on the BSI CPI website at: www.bsigroup.com/consumers.
Standards and codes for electric drive vehicles
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is organizing the ANSI Workshop: Standards and Codes for Electric Drive Vehicles on 5-6 April 2011, in Bethesda, Maryland. This workshop is being convened on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Idaho National Laboratory. It will consider current and future standards, codes, and conformity assessment activities – U.S. domestic, regional and international. Interested stakeholders will hear high-level overviews of work taking place, and engage in discussions to identify gaps in coverage and explore opportunities for collaboration and coordination. A report will be produced following the workshop.
For more, see the news section of www.ansi.org or follow this link.
Emergency preparedness for persons with disabilities and special needs
Catastrophic events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the 9/11 attacks revealed the crucial need for standards and other means of guidance to enhance emergency preparedness for persons with special needs. In an effort to advance standardization efforts in this area, the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) has released a final workshop report outlining recommendations for the timely development of standards to support more effective emergency preparedness for all. The report consolidates the panel’s findings from a series of 2010 workshops that examined various aspects of the standards and codes needed for reducing barriers to accessibility in emergencies.
For more, see the news section of www.ansi.org or follow this link.