The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) says that fewer companies are reporting product injuries. Although firms must report injuries linked to their products, CBS News reports that government fines are up for companies that did not report product problems.
“It went slamming into my shin and went right through my jeans,” said Bob Dolan, one of 158 people injured by a now-recalled weed cutter, wrote CBS News. According to the federal government, the defective weed cutter maker, “knowingly failed to report several safety hazards,” said CBS News. A fine of just under $1 million was levied against the firm. “It’s pretty upsetting when I hear that they just kind of ignored it,” Dolan told CBS.
While two companies were fined in 2010 for neglecting to report safety defects, in 2011, 10 companies were fined a total of more than $4 million. The 10 firms included makers of defective buggies, pricey refrigerators, exercise and office equipment, and drawstring sweatshirts, said CBS News.
One attorney pointed out that sometimes companies are unclear as to when to report a problem to the Commission. “If in doubt, report,” Scott Wolfson of the CPSC told CBS News.
The CPSC is also asking consumers to let it know when product problems occur and wants product makers to be aware that it is looking and counting. “If they are putting the health and safety of consumers at risk and keeping that information from us, they can really be held liable,” Wolfson told CBS News. The CPSC points out that reporting problems could save lives.
Meanwhile, we just wrote that a new report revealed that while children’s products recalls dropped in 2011 by almost one-quarter, 32% involved injury reports, according to a report issued by the safety advocacy group, Kids in Danger.
Kids In Danger said it was unable to explain the drop in recalls, “because of the secrecy surrounding the recall process. We don’t know if CPSC (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) looked to recall more products and were unable to persuade manufacturers, or if this represents a decrease in dangerous products in the marketplace. It is clear that recalls for lead violations and drop-side cribs were down, just as new requirements for standards and testing came into effect.”
The report cited three deaths, two involved strangulations with a nursery monitor and one was due to entrapment in a bunk bed. Also, three of the recalled products were only recalled following no less than 100 reports, said Kids In Danger. Those three recalls involved a swing set, a remote control helicopter, and a pogo stick.
Kids in Danger pointed out that, “there are many products on SaferProducts.gov with serious injuries that have not been recalled.” SaferProducts.gov is a CPSC-sponsored site where consumers can report safety issues with products directly to the CSPC.
According to Kids in Danger, the CPSC imposed $3.9 million in fines to firms that violated safety regulations and typically involved failing to report choking, poisoning, and drawstrings in clothing and included one fine for a firm selling a banned substance.