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OPSS consults on smarter regulations in boost for business

Two new product safety consultations have been opened by (OPSS) as part of the UK Government’s latest package of smarter regulation. See the accompanying press release

OPSS has launched the Product Safety Review to protect consumers, ease business burdens and grow the economy.

A consultation has been opened setting out proposals for a new approach to the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture; protecting consumers with reforms that will update the current regulations for the 21st century.

These consultations are building on extensive stakeholder engagement and dialogue which will continue through and beyond the formal publications.

The Product Safety Review will reform the UK’s product safety framework so that the system is more accountable and proportionate and also helps businesses to innovate, grow and create more jobs.

OPSS is encouraging responses from a broad range of individuals, businesses and other organisations that interact with all aspects of products safety, including manufacturers, trade associations, consumers, and consumer representative organisations.

From online marketplaces to internet connected devices, the way we buy products and the products themselves have undergone huge changes in recent years. But the UK’s product safety framework has developed piecemeal, resulting in a mix of complex legislation, technical requirements and guidance. This can be burdensome for businesses to understand and can stifle innovation and new entrants to the market.

The Review includes proposals to put clearer responsibilities on online marketplaces so that shopping online is as safe as on the high street, as well as specific digital proposals on e-labelling.

There are also proposals that would see more flexible obligations on businesses that are proportionate to the product’s risk and the creation of a more agile and responsive regulatory framework.

Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “The Product Safety Review consultation examines the fundamental tenets on which our product regulation is built with a view to redesigning it so that it is agile, responsive, and fit for the 21st century. We want a framework that supports businesses to innovate and grow whilst ensuring consumers are kept safe.”

The consultation on a proposed new approach to the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture will be aimed at improving protections for consumers, addressing modern day domestic hazards and introducing new safety requirements.

The new approach will replace the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 (FFRs) to ensure safety requirements reflect furniture in the modern home, reduce chemical flame retardants in domestic upholstered furniture and encourage innovation.

The National Fire Chiefs Council said: “We are supportive of the draft essential safety requirements as they seek to maintain and improve fire safety. This is demonstrated through the focus of stopping and delaying ignition to aid escape in the event of a fire.”

Both published consultations will be formally open for a 12-week period, closing at midnight on 24 October 2023.

View the Product Safety Review

View the fire safety of domestic upholstered furniture consultation

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