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Real change needed to product safety regime to ensure consumer safety

Product safety specialist solicitor Jill Paterson has urged for real change to the product safety regime in the UK following a report by the National Audit Office which warns that the Government’s product safety regulator faces major challenges to keep up with the online marketplace.

Posted on 16 June 2021

The National Audit Office (NAO) found that the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) lacks the data it needs to prioritise its response to consumer risks, particularly those arising from purchasing goods online.

The NAO reported that according to a recent study on potentially risky products from online marketplaces, 66% of products failed safety tests, with risks including suffocation, fire and electric shock.

The NAO found the OPSS has made “good progress” in strengthening the consumer product safety regime, reacting well to some high-profile safety issues, but it does still face challenges regulating the safety of a marketplace that continues to change.

The OPSS was set up by the government in January 2018 and works alongside Trading Standards and other organisations such as Border Force and the British Standards Institution.

Jill Paterson, product safety lawyer at Leigh Day, who has represented many people affected by faulty products and appliances, said:

“The product safety regime in the UK is broken and has been for some time. The establishment of the OPSS was a welcome move, but without proper powers and resources, it will be unable to have the impact required. Product Safety law is not fit for purpose and it is hoped that the current review will lead to real change in order to ensure that consumers are fully protected.”

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Jill Paterson

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