Safe consumer products

This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law. Please note that some of the advice we provide to businesses is chargeable.

Safe products

All consumer products sold in the UK must be safe. Some goods have specific safety rules they must meet (toys, electrical goods etc) but all products must meet the general safety requirement.

In addition, the law places certain responsibilities on manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers of consumer goods, and this factsheet is designed to help you understand what you must do to satisfy the law in this field.

As well as making sure your products are safe when sold, you must ensure they remain so for their expected period of use. You must also provide the users of your products with any information or warnings about risks associated with using them.

In the unlikely event you discover a product you are already selling is unsafe or even dangerous, you are obliged to notify us at Hampshire Trading Standards. If this product is sold across Europe, other Member States will then be alerted to the problem too. If the risk from the product is serious, we will need further information from you to ensure the products can be traced and if necessary, recalled. If the safety problem with a product is just an isolated incident, notification won't be necessary, though it's always useful to keep us aware of any concerns you have about product safety.

Unsafe goods - liability for damage or injury

Monitoring producers

The law requires you to keep abreast of what is happening to the safety of your products once they are in the market place. To enable you to do this, you should:

  • mark the products with your name and address and a batch code or other reference to ensure any unsafe products can be traced
  • carry out sample testing of your products on the market
  • have a means of monitoring complaints from customers and your distributors about your products, and acting on these
  • keep wholesales and retailers of your products informed of what you are doing to monitor safety
  • have plans and procedures in place so you can take action such as a product recall in the event of a serious safety problem with one of your products

You should also consider:

  • ensuring your insurance arrangements are adequate to cover eventualities such as recalling a product
Monitoring distributors

If you are a distributor, wholesaler or retailer you also need to:

  • pass on safety information from the producer to your customers
  • keep any documents necessary for tracing the origin of unsafe products
  • keep the producer informed of any product concerns your customers report to you
  • cooperate with us if we need to take action on unsafe goods