Monday, 15 April 2019

Nobody move or your clothes will strangle you!

From The Guardian:

Dangerous cars, electrical goods and toys could flood into the UK after Brexit unless the government urgently reforms the current “failing” safety enforcement system, a consumer group warned on Monday.

Which? says the public will be vulnerable to delays in spotting and dealing with unsafe products unless continued access to the European Safety Gate system is negotiated. Its new analysis shows the scheme, under which 31 European countries alert each other to products with serious safety problems, issued 34% more notifications in 2018 than a decade ago.

In recent months, alerts have included a toxic children’s putty that could damage youngsters’ reproductive systems, and clothing which posed a strangulation risk. Recall notices have also appeared for fire-risk HP laptop batteries, explosive Honda airbags and a flammable children’s Star Wars Stormtrooper outfit.

Yes, one of the things which European countries seem to do very well is product safety/consumer protection. It's a combination of government regulations/inspections and importers doing their own testing, in which a bit of cross-border information sharing is very helpful.

But I'm not aware that Norwegians, Swiss, Icelanders and Liechtensteiners are all dying in bizarre accidents. There are only 28 27 EU Member States so I assume that they are on the list of 31 countries which have signed up to the European Safety Gate system:

Every day the European Commission receives alerts from national authorities in the EU/EEA concerning dangerous products found on their markets. These alerts are sent through the rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products - "Safety Gate". They include information about the type of products found, the risks posed and the measures taken at national level to prevent or restrict their marketing. Weekly reports of the alerts are available below.

Aha, as I thought, it's not restricted to EU Member States, although it is a (weak) argument for remaining in the EEA, which would necessitate rejoining EFTA, which is a good idea anyway.


Lola said...

Trouble is a lot of this is camouflage for protectionism - as my mate in the kidswear business can attest. Reputable importers want nothing at all to do with sub-standard products, as they can only survive by keeping selling stuff to existing as well as new customers, and reputation is everything. Quite frankly I view this as shroud waving by bureaucrats worried about their sinecures and stipends.

Mark Wadsworth said...

L, some of it is protectionism, but overall it benefits consumers and honest traders.

It's only a notification system, doesn't cost much

L fairfax said...

The EU didn't notice that beef was horse meat for years, so I am not 100% sure that they are that reliable.

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, of course stuff will slip through the net. No government, neither UK not EU, has a failsafe system. But on the whole, it's a force for good.