Businesses and safety regulators do not always see eye to eye. After all, even though most American companies value the safety of their consumers, regulations, investigations and recalls cost businesses time, money and potentially their reputations in certain situations.

This simple fact has recently fueled a wave of mild panic throughout the manufacturing industry. After the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that it is considering alterations to its defective product investigation process, the manufacturing community reacted to the potential losses of time, money and reputation that might accompany such a change.

Under the current system, the CPSC is bound by Section 6b of the Consumer Product Safety Act. This section helps to protect manufacturers from negative press released by the CPSC with regard to defective or dangerous product investigations.

While the CPSC can alert the public to the existence of an investigation, it must be careful not to disclose any information which could be potentially considered “inaccurate” or “misleading.” Given that investigations are not conclusive until they are complete, this often leaves the CPSC unable to alert consumers to potential dangers and defects in the products they are purchasing.

Additionally, the CPSC’s general best practice is to give businesses 10 days to review any language that the agency would like to release to the public. This practice also slows and shadows the type of information that consumers and safety advocates would prefer was kept as transparent as possible.

What changes has the CPSC proposed to the practicalities of Section 6b that has the manufacturing community up in arms? Please check back later this week as we continue our discussion.

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