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OECD, safety, and the consumer

OECD, Produktsicherheit und der Verbraucher

Abstract

The paper contains a survey of the legal approach taken to protect consumers from unsafe products in OECD member countries during the last decade. The legal approach covers measures such as preparatory, regulatory, monitoring and corrective actions. An important part in the international work to increase product safety efforts is played by the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy. The paper points out that the Committee's working party on product safety has since 1972 produced a considerable number of reports and proposals which have led to Council Recommendations. It seems that many of these have contributed to the development of safety measures in some countries. The author concludes that international cooperation in the field of consumer policy is an indispensable element for increasing the protection of consumers, the maintenance of open international trading systems, and the functioning of markets at the national and international level.

Zusammenfassung

Der Beitrag geht davon aus, daß Konsumgüter viele Sicherheitsprobleme mit sich bringen können. Die OECD-Länder haben deshalb verschiedene Ansätze zum Schutz des Verbrauchers entwickelt. In den USA, in England, Holland, Kanada, Japan und in den nordischen sowie in den EG-Ländern existieren Produktüberwachungssysteme. Manche Länder haben Rahmengesetze zur Regulierung einzelner Märkte erlassen. In einigen Ländern gibt es eine Selbstkontrolle der Anbieter und in den meisten Ländern kann der Verkauf gefährlicher Produkte verboten werden. Aber nur in den USA, in Frankreich, Österreich und in Japan gibt es die Möglichkeit, gefährliche Produkte zurückzurufen.

Der Beitrag berichtet insbesondere über die Empfehlungen, Veröffentlichungen und die übrige Tätigkeit der Arbeitsgruppe Produktsicherheit im OECD-Verbraucherbeirat. Der Verfasser kommt zu dem Ergebnis, daß diese Tätigkeit die Entwicklung zu mehr Produktsicherheit in vielen Ländern gefördert hat. Er ist der Meinung, daß internationale Zusammenarbeit nicht nur für den Schutz der Verbraucher, sondern auch für den freien Handel und die Funktionsfähigkeit nationaler und internationaler Märkte notwendig ist.

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References

  1. OECD (1974). Consumer protection against the toxicity of cosmetics and household products. Paris: OECD. Council Recommendation 1976.

  2. OECD (1975). Safety requirements for toys. Paris: OECD.

  3. OECD (1977). Safety requirements concerning the flammability of textile products. Paris: OECD.

  4. OECD (1978). Data collection systems related to injuries involving consumer products. Paris: OECD. Council Recommendation 1978.

  5. OECD (1979). Severity weighting of data on accidents involving consumer products. Paris: OECD.

  6. OECD (1980). Safety of consumer products — Policy and legislation in OECD member countries. Paris: OECD. Council Recommendation 1979.

  7. OECD (1981). Recall procedures for unsafe products sold to the public. Paris: OECD. Council Recommendation 1981.

  8. OECD (1982). Risk management and cost benefit analyses in the product safety field. Paris: OECD. Council Recommendation 1982.

  9. OECD (1983). Consumer policy during the past ten years. Paris: OECD.

  10. OECD (1984). Measures to protect children. Paris: OECD. Council Recommendation 1983.

  11. Ringstedt, N. (1983a). Hazardous products — The concerns and views of OECD countries. Paper presented at the IOCU Seminar on Health, Safety, and the Consumer, Ranzan, Japan, April 6–9.

  12. Ringstedt, N. (1983b). Standards in the design for safety. Paper presented at the WHO Symposium on Accidents in Europe, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, September 12–16.

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Additional information

Nils Ringstedt is the Deputy Director General of the National Swedish Board for Consumer Policies, Box 503, S-162 15 Vällingby, Sweden. He is at present Chairman of Wp 3 on Product Safety of the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy.

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Ringstedt, N. OECD, safety, and the consumer. J Consum Policy 9, 57–64 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00380310

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Keywords

  • OECD
  • Corrective Action
  • Trading System
  • Product Safety
  • Safety Effort