This morning the Commission adopted a rule setting out things we will consider when imposing penalties for those who violate the law. This rule is important because in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act the Congress authorized penalties up to $15 million for violations and made many more things illegal. In other words, it will be a lot easier to find yourself in violation and if you are, it will probably cost you a lot more.
We all want to ensure compliance with the law but I believe that this needs to be both a “carrot and a stick” process. My concern with the original proposal was that it had only ‘sticks’ and no ‘carrots’ in it. I am pleased that the Commission agreed to a series of amendments that I offered to make the final rule a more balanced one. While this rule is not an ideal example of clarity, from my perspective it is much better than what was originally proposed.
To avoid penalties, industry needs to comply with the law. Manufacturers need to make sure that they have in place effective quality assurance and safety compliance programs. They need to know what goes into the components they are using and have appropriate processes to assure that they are in compliance with all relevant standards.