UK Guidance for Businesses on How to Notify Hazardous Products

UK guidance for businesses in regard to how they must notify hazardous products to to the relevant authority. The British Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) published a guide in March 2022.

The manual is updated on 14 April 2022. 

This guidance applies to businesses supplying goods on the Great Britain and Northern Ireland markets and sits alongside PAS 7100:2022 on Supporting better product recalls. 

UK guidance for businesses in regard to how they must notify hazardous products to to the relevant authority
UK guidance for businesses in regard to how they must notify hazardous products to to the relevant authority | Graphic by Ellina Goncharova from Alura Group

What is the Reason for this Guide?

This guidance is for businesses providing consumer and non-consumer items on the UK market. Basically, it summarizes the requirements for alerting relevant authorities if products pose a risk to consumer or workplace health and safety. Furthermore it explains the procedure if their products are found to be non-compliant with applicable legislation.

Summary of How Businesses Must Notify Hazardous Products

Firstly, the guide starts with establishing the authority of The OPSS. Further, the guide explains what the notification requirements stem from and how and to whom notifications should be made. Subsequently, this guide clarifies to whom it applies.

Why is There Legislation on Product Safety Notification?

The product safety legal framework requires businesses supplying goods on the UK market to notify the relevant authority where they become aware that a product they have placed on the market, supplied or distributed is unsafe and poses a risk to the user, or is noncompliant with the relevant legislation. 

Product safety notifications support:

  • The safety of people and the environment, by ensuring that corrective actions and steps are taken to reduce the risks to consumers and users;
  • Business, by allowing regulators to provide advice and support to address issues, minimising the likelihood of future noncompliance; and
  • Regulators, by recording and sharing information to permit authorities to focus activities on issues and products identified as presenting the greatest safety risks

General Product Safety Regulations 2005

This guide explains in general how the General Product Safety Regulations applies to businesses when their products fail to meet compliance or when they are dangerous.

Sector-Specific Safety Legislation

For some sectors, e.g. the Toys Industry, there is sector-specific regulation. This may differ from the usual regulations. A list of sector-specific safety legislation and references to the legal provisions for notification can be found in Annex A of the guide, including the relevant authority for each regulation and circumstance.

Northern Ireland

If a product sold on the Northern Ireland market is found to be unsafe, this must be reported to the relevant authority who will share this information with OPSS via the Product Safety Database. Individual EU Member States may have specific arrangements in place for notifications where a product that does not meet the safety requirement has been supplied on their markets. You should seek confirmation within each Member State you supply products to regarding product safety notifications and may wish to make use of the EU Product Safety Business Alert Gateway system

What’s More?

Furthermore, the guide includes the following:

  • Notifications – the role of Market Surveillance Authorities and Enforcement Authorities
  • Other Statutory Product Notifications to OPSS
  • Legal Metrology;
  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS): and
  • Serious Undesirable Effects (Cosmetics)

UK Guidance for Businesses on How to Notify Hazardous Products: Links and Downloads

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