Under the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL),
which came into operation in January 2011, all participants in the
supply chain of consumer goods, including those supplying product
related services (such as installation and repair services), must
notify the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
(ACCC) within 48 hours of any death, serious
injury or illness that has been caused, or may have been caused, by
a consumer good or product related service.
A supplier of consumer goods or product related services may
become aware of the need to notify the ACCC in at least two
the supplier becomes aware of the death, serious injury or
illness of any person and considers that it was caused or may have
been caused by the use or foreseeable misuse of the consumer good
the supplier becomes aware another person considers the death,
serious injury or illness was caused or may have been caused by the
use or foreseeable misuse of the consumer good or service.
The impact of the mandatory product safety reporting requirement
has been significant. The ACCC has reported that since the
introduction of this requirement six months ago, 911 reports have
been lodged with the ACCC, triggering 40 product recalls. These
recalls have been implemented to address a variety of safety risks
including allergic reactions, burns, electrocution, choking, cuts
Given the necessity to notify the regulator within 48 hours of
becoming aware of a product related death, serious injury or
illness, it is incumbent on businesses to have product recall
systems in place, so if required to lodge a mandatory product
safety report they can simultaneously implement a product recall if
required. To achieve such a rapid product recall capability
requires planning and development. Such an investment is warranted
given the new mandatory reporting requirements.
Most mandatory reports have been lodged to date by large
business enterprises. These businesses are expected to have
sophisticated product recall systems and procedures in place,
however the ACCC has expressed concern that small and medium size
enterprises may not be complying with the mandatory reporting
requirements. It is important for these businesses to be able to
comply with the new requirement and to undertake a rapid product
recall if required.
Key things to remember
Notification must occur within 48 hours.
Mandatory reports are confidential, unless the reporter
consents to disclosure.
Reporting is not an admission of liability.
Failure to notify as required is a criminal offence, punishable
by a penalty of A$16,500 for a body corporate and A$3,300 for
persons other than a body corporate.
It is a strict liability offence, that is, a court is not
required to consider whether the person intended to report to the
minister in finding them guilty.
How can Middletons help you?
Our Competition & Regulatory Group has developed tools to
assist clients in preparing mandatory product safety reports and in
planning and implementing any voluntary product safety recalls
which may be required, particularly in circumstances where a
mandatory product safety report must be lodged.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
This newsletter includes links to recent media releases, reports and cases relating to competition and consumer law.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).