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Consumer Safety

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has an important role to protect consumers against unsafe goods which are manufactured, distributed, supplied or sold in the district.  An unsafe product is one that poses a risk of injury during normal use, when used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

All consumer goods including second hand goods should comply with any relevant legislation or recognised safety standards, however many people are injured each year due to unsafe consumer goods.

The department also provides advice and support to assist businesses in complying with consumer protection legislation.  The department helps to protect consumers from unsafe goods by;

  • investigating complaints from consumers

  • carrying out inspections

  • sampling and testing goods to ensure they meet safety standards

  • providing advice and support to businesses

What is a Safe Product?

The General Safety Requirement refers to goods being reasonably safe in all the circumstances that pertain to them. These circumstances include: the way in which goods are marked, any instructions or warnings given with the goods and any published safety standards for those goods.  Manufacturers and importers have increased responsibility in terms of safety.  For information and advice, they should contact us.

What should you look for when buying goods?

  • Only purchase goods from a reputable supplier
  • Examine goods for safety symbols or signs e.g. BEAB approval, Kite mark, CE mark, Cigarette/Match Resistant labels, etc.
  • Read all warnings carefully and follow operating instructions
  • Keep receipts as proof of purchase
  • Only use goods or equipment for the purpose for which they are intended

For advice on staying safe when buying goods, go to Consumer product safety: advice for staying safe.

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 apply to all products (new and second-hand) used by consumers.  The legal requirements are the same whether goods are supplied from a premises, home, stall or online platform.

The General Product Safety Regulations Guide is designed to help businesses comply with the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, as they apply in NI.  It applies to businesses placing products not covered by other specific legislation on the market in Northern Ireland. It sets out the requirements that must be met before products can be placed on the market. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that consumer products are safe before they can be placed on the market in NI. This is done by requiring producers to ensure that consumer products meet the general safety requirement.

Certain products have specific legislation.  The links below provide information on some of these areas;

MHRA is the competent authority for the notification scheme for e-cigarettes and refill containers in the UK.The following link may be useful.

The links below may also help provide information on your product safety requirements: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/product-safety-advice-for-businesses https://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/product-safety

Second-Hand Goods

Some, but not all goods are covered by Consumer Protection Regulations. Those that are sold as part of a business may be covered in the same way as new goods, for example, those bought from an auction or second-hand shop. Goods sold privately are not covered by the legislation. If you have any doubts about any product either new, or second-hand, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Counterfeit Goods and Faulty Goods

If your query or complaint is about counterfeit goods, faulty goods or false or misleading product descriptions, you should contact Consumer line in Trading Standards Service.

They can also give advice on consumer rights on refunds, repairs or replacing goods.

Product Recalls and Safety Notices

RAPEX or Rapid Alert System is the EU rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products (except food). When a product e.g. a toy, childcare article or household appliance is found to be dangerous, the competent national authority takes appropriate action to eliminate the risk. It can withdraw the product from the market, recall it, or issue warnings.

The Trading Standards Central website contains a list of product safety notices and recalls.

You can also keep abreast of any safety repairs or recalls on products that you may have, by registering your appliances.  Details can be found on the following link: Home - Register My Appliance

Information on OPSS product safety alerts, reports and recalls for unsafe products – Product Recalls and Alerts

Product Safety Standards for Businesses

EU Exit

While the Northern Ireland Protocol is in force, Northern Ireland will align with relevant EU rules relating to the placing on the market of manufactured goods. Products placed on the NI market must therefore follow UK law as it applies to NI. These changes may affect your business as it places more responsibility on local businesses who may have previously been distributors or retailers and are now seen as producers/importers.

If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes that have been implemented due to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Further information and guidance on EU Exit can be found at the following links;

Cosmetic Products

If you manufacture or import Cosmetics Products for sale in GB, you will need to add your products to the UK’s Submit a Cosmetic Product Notification Portal in addition to the EU Cosmetics Products Notification Portal for products sold in Northern Ireland.

Guidance for placing cosmetics on both the Northern Ireland and Great Britain market can be found here.

Construction Products

Guidance for Construction Products can be found here.

PAS 7050 and PAS 7100

PAS 7050:2022 focuses on the processes, procedures, roles and responsibilities associated with bringing safe consumer products to the market. It is intended for businesses, including manufacturers, designers, importers, distributors, repairers, refurbishers and the operators of online marketplaces for consumer products.

PAS 7050:2022 can also help organizations:

  • ensure that products comply with consumer safety product legislation;
  • improve the efficiency with which safe products are brought to market;
  • accelerate innovation and expertise in safe product manufacture;
  • give supply chain partners more confidence in your products, making it easier to trade; and
  • reduce product-safety related reputational, commercial and compliance risks.

PAS 7100:2022 is designed to help anyone placing products on the consumer market to comply with product safety legislation. PAS 7100:2022 looks at the processes, procedures, roles and responsibilities associated with executing product recalls and other corrective actions. It is also intended for businesses, including manufacturers, designers, importers, distributors, repairers, refurbishers and the operators of online marketplaces for consumer products.

PAS 7100:2022 can help your organization to:

  • Build its capacity to take timely and effective action if a product safety issue arises
  • Improve the efficiency with which compliant product safety monitoring and recalls are handled
  • Give supply chain partners greater confidence in the safety of your products, making it easier to trade
  • Reduce its product-safety related commercial and compliance risks
  • Inform new product development and innovation
  • Ensure your supply chain is clear about what is expected in terms of quality

Links to PAS

  • PAS 7050:2022 can be found at this link (Link opens new tab)
  • PAS 7100:222 can be found at this link (Link opens new tab)

Inflatable Play Equipment

Inflatable play equipment is particularly popular at this time of year and can provide enjoyment for all when it is supplied in a safe condition and erected correctly.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has recently completed a successful prosecution because of an accident that occurred during the use of such equipment. The Council launched legal proceedings against the owner of the Inflatable slide when Environmental Health Officers found that he had failed to ensure the Health and Safety of the users.

The Council has been working with local suppliers to ensure they are following all relevant safety requirements. However, as a person hiring such equipment, you too can help keep all users safe. Please see below to find out what you can do.

What should I ask for from the person I am hiring the Inflatable from?  

  • Check if the inflatable you are hiring carries a numbered PIPA tag.
  •  OR
  • Ask to see the current Annual Safety Certificate. It must be carried out by a competent person, registered to do so and must be within a year of the hire date.

Ensure the person supplying the inflatable has provided you with written instructions on how to use it safely, for example how many people can use it at any one time, are there any age restrictions for the Inflatable, what to do if it starts to rain or gets windy? The supplier should request you to sign this document to confirm you have read and understood the information.   

You can use the PIPA websites to check safety tests have been carried out and to find out what to do if the equipment has no PIPA tag. If you are worried that the matters have not been undertaken by the supplier, do not hire an Inflatable from them. 

What should I do to whilst an inflatable is at my home?  

  • Always follow the written instructions provided by the supplier of the inflatable.  
  • Ensure the Inflatable Play equipment is supervised by an adult at all times.  
  • Ensure the permitted number of users is not exceeded, the supplier will inform you of the maximum number.  
  • Users should not wear shoes or glasses and should empty their pockets of all sharp or dangerous items.  
  • Anyone intoxicated should not be permitted to use the inflatable.  
  • Don’t misuse the Inflatable – such as climbing the walls, doing somersaults or other gymnastics.  

Be aware of the weather. The HSE advises that 38km/h (24mph) is the recommended maximum wind speed to use an inflatable however this may vary with smaller inflatables. This is the speed at which small trees begin to sway. Never reposition the inflatable or remove any anchor points. 

E-Cigarettes and E-Liquids

 Product requirements

These apply to e-cigarettes (including rebuildable devices, those sold without nicotine content and components and replacement parts) and to e-liquids (refill containers for e-cigarettes):

• Maximum tank size of an e-cigarette, 2ml (when assembled if necessary) (Max 600 puffs for disposable e-cigarettes)

• Maximum strength of nicotine-containing liquid if present, 20mg/ml nicotine

• Maximum volume of a nicotine-containing refill container, 10ml

• Tamper-evident and child-resistant packaging

Labelling requirements

On pack as sold (must be on bottle or device if no outer packaging):

• List of ingredients in nicotine-containing liquid, if present

• Indication of nicotine content and delivery per dose

• Batch number

• Recommendation to keep the product out of the reach of children

• Prominent health warning in black text on a white background on front and back - “This product contains nicotine which is a highly addictive substance”

• Prohibited on packs – offers and discounts, product safety / health claims

An accompanying leaflet must be provided with each unit pack and include:

• Instructions for use and storage, including instructions for refilling where appropriate

• Contra-indications, warnings for specific risk groups and possible adverse effects, addictiveness and toxicity

• Contact details of the producer; also a contact within the UK if the producer is based outside the UK (this may be an EU contact for products supplied in Northern Ireland) Exceptions where these are not required

• Identical replacement parts where you and the consumer can clearly identify from the labelling the notified e-cigarette product for which the part is a replacement

• Parts such as battery units that do not come into contact with nicotine-containing liquid when in use

• A disposable e-cigarette or e-liquid product containing 0mg nicotine when sold

Notification requirements

Always check with your supplier that the products you are offered have been notified to MHRA. You can verify this by checking the MHRA published lists of notified products, updated weekly, available online at https://cms.mhra.gov.uk/ecig. If a product has not been notified the manufacturer or importer may not supply it to you.

Please note the existence of an EC-ID or GB-ID is not an indication of compliance and products must not be supplied until the notifications have been published as a notified product by the competent authority in each national market.

We are asking you to review your products on sale to ensure compliance with the regulations.  We would particularly request that you review any disposable e-cigarette products and remove non-compliant items from sale.  You should consult with your suppliers on this matter and ensure that you do not purchase additional non-compliant stock. 

Additional information is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-cigarettes-regulations-for-consumer-products

Other Regulations continue to apply to e-cigarettes and e-liquids including:

  • Classification, Labelling & Packaging Regulations;
  • The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994;
  • The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006;
  • Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994;
  • The General Product Safety Regulations 2005.

The Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulations (EC No. 1272/2008)

The Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances Regulations requires the following information:

  • the name, full address and telephone number of a person in an EEA State who is responsible for supplying the substance,
  • identification of the constituents of the preparation which result in it being classified as a dangerous preparation (e.g. Nicotine),
  • the signal word: DANGER
  • Hazard statements:

Toxic if swallowed,

•Toxic in contact with skin,

•Toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects,

  • nominal mass or nominal volume
  • Pictogram

            

  • Tactile warning label- (raised triangle):

                

Note Information under CLP may vary due to strength of nicotine

In addition Annex VIII of the EU CLP Regulation applies in EU member states and in NI. Importers and downstream users placing hazardous mixtures on the NI market are required to provide specific information on their products to the National Poisons Information Service (NPIS) in accordance with Annex VIII.  This will provide them with a Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) code for traceability.  Further information on submitting chemical information to the NPIS is available at;

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/submitting-chemicals-information-to-the-national-poisons-information-service

Further guidance on compliance with Annex VIII of CLP and the need for a UFI code is available at;

https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/17235/guidance_on_annex_viii_to_clp

https://poisoncentres.echa.europa.eu/documents/1789887/1803644/ufi_what_it_means

Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 2016

As you will be aware from the 1st February it became an offence to sell nicotine inhaling products, including e-cigarettes, to persons under the age of 18 in Northern Ireland.  A further offence in relation to the proxy purchasing was also introduced making it an offence for a person over the age of 18 to buy, or attempt to buy, a nicotine inhaling product on behalf of someone underage.

As a proprietor you have a legal responsibility to ensure that you or your staff do not sell e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.  In order to comply with your legal responsibility you must ensure that you have a policy and procedures in place to prevent a breach of the above legislation. 

In order to ascertain the level of compliance with these laws we may carry out test purchase exercises.  This involves sending a person under 18 years old into your premises to ask for e-cigarettes.   Should a sale take place this may result in a fixed penalty notice of £250 or, on conviction, a court fine of up to a maximum of level 5 on the standard scale.

In addition, the new laws will integrate the sale of nicotine inhaling products into the existing enforcement regime relating to the persistent commission of tobacco offences. A person or a business found to be repeatedly selling nicotine inhaling products to children could receive a Restricted Sales Order or a Restricted Premises Order from the court. Such an order can prohibit the sale of nicotine inhaling products and tobacco products by a named individual or a business premises for up to 3 years.

I would advise that you ensure your staff members fully understand what the changes in the law mean and how these changes will be enforced.

Complaints

If you are a consumer and needing general advice regarding unsafe product or you have bought a product, which you feel is unsafe you can contact us using the details below.

Action taken as a result of your complaint will relate to the safety of the product only. We do not get involved in issues relating to refunds or compensation.

Contact Details

Email: ehealth@nmandd.org

Telephone: 0330 137 4024.

Useful Links

The role of Trading Standards is to promote and maintain fair trading, protect consumers and help reputable businesses to thrive in Northern Ireland. For information on Trading Standards issues, please click here.

The Consumer Council provide free independent support and advice for all consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland. They also have the power to investigate complaints about energy, water, transport and postal services. For General Consumer queries, visit the Consumer Council website here.

Downloads
  • health and safety and consumer protection registration form