Product safety

Product safety advice for businesses and manufacturers; who to notify about unsafe products and how to contact the Import Surveillance Team in Suffolk.

Product safety for manufacturers

Good design and manufacturing processes are essential to ensure you meet these technical and legal requirements. They can also give your business a competitive edge and save costs.

Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, all products must be ‘fit for purpose’, be of satisfactory quality and fit its description. This means that your products must fulfil the purpose the customer has been led to expect and the reasons that led them to buy it.

  • Product safety for manufacturers - Government guide setting out the key safety, design, packaging and insurance issues you need to consider in relation to your products

Product liability and safety law

If your business supplies products to consumers, you need to make sure the products are safe.

The heaviest responsibility falls on producers, e.g. the manufacturer of a product. But distributors - such as shops and wholesalers - also have legal responsibilities.

Failing to meet your responsibilities can have serious consequences. You could face legal action with possible fines or even imprisonment. You could also be sued by anyone who has been injured or has suffered damage to personal property as a result of using your product.

  • Product liability and safety law - Government guide outlining the basics of product liability and product safety law. It will help you understand how you are affected and what action you need to take

CE marking

The letters ‘CE’ appear on many products that are traded on the single market in the European Economic Area (EEA).

The CE marking is required for many products. It:

  • shows that the manufacturer has checked that these products meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements
  • is an indicator of a product’s compliance with EU legislation
  • allows the free movement of products within the European market

By placing the CE marking on a product a manufacturer is declaring, on his sole responsibility, conformity with all of the legal requirements to achieve CE marking. The manufacturer is thus ensuring validity for that product to be sold throughout the EEA. This also applies to products made in third countries which are sold in the EEA and Turkey.

Not all products must bear the CE marking. Only those product categories subject to specific directives that provide for the CE marking are required to be CE marked.

Selling unsafe products

If you've sold, or are selling, a product that you think may be unsafe, contact us immediately on 01473 264859.

You could be committing a criminal offence if you don't inform Trading Standards immediately if you've sold an item that you have subsequently found to be unsafe.

Business Companion product safety - Business Companion offers a number of guides covering all aspects of product safety, including part-worn tyres, second-hand goods, toys, fireworks, electrical goods and more.

Import Surveillance Team

Our import surveillance team carries out examinations of high risk consumer products arriving in the UK via the Port of Felixstowe.

Officers carry out a visual assessment and on that basis, may send products for further testing against relevant Standards and legislation.

Depending on the test results, importers may be asked to carry out some form of re-working of the products and/or labelling. If the products are assessed as being unsafe, the goods may be suspended and/or further enforcement action may be undertaken.

Our import surveillance team takes on a national role to ensure the best possible security measures are in place to protect the public from unsafe products.

Contacting the Import Surveillance Team

Email all enquiries to imports@suffolk.gcsx.gov.uk or call them on 01473 264563.