Despite the disruption by Extinction Rebellion this week on Climate Change, we were able to have an interesting update to the intentions of the UK Government, when we exit the EU.
All Business Associations were updated on many Regulatory changes, including how to access Government Funding if you feel your business is going to be impacted when we leave the UK. Details are here, but application deadlines are imminent.
There were details on the new UKCA Mark, which is going to replace the CE marking for certain products. It won’t be recognised on the EU Market, but for a time limited period, the CE mark will still be recognised in the UK. Details HERE on that one.
However the relevance to EEESafe is quite significant and important when it comes to Product Safety, Recalls and the use of 2nd hand items and in particular the White Goods which is our market, and the sector we are supporting.
There will be a new Product Safety Database in the UK to replace the EU Rapex and ICSMS for market surveillance purposes. A business and consumer interface will be presented by the Government to provide good guidance. We’re checking for further information on this as we continue our engagement. As some may know, we were the first to operate an independent Appliance Safety Register, which although focusing on free alerts of Registered White Goods Protocols, which can incorporate many other products as well. This will be demonstrated in our forthcoming updated Register, and is something we are arranging to share with OPSS. It’s important therefore that signposting to a Register that accommodates citizens who don’t trust Manufacturers, is provided to mitigate a potential safety gap. We’re actively discussing conflicts with the existing Manufacturers Register to eradicate such links, which is supported by evidence that shows not all consumers do trust Manufacturers. The recent Whirlpool incident, clearly shows why consumers have every reason to still mistrust them.
We now know that the Government has been running about 15 research projects related to safety, and we were informed this data is due to be published very soon. We had a brief update of each product and some of the information that has been derived from it, all of which will fall under the scrutiny of the OPSS to protect consumers safety. Interestingly this first batch of researched evidence will include the data from 12 workshops and consultations of 4000 consumers, where the focus was about their attitude to product safety. Clearly we could see they have looked at the different routes to market for products, which include online, bricks and mortar and fulfillment houses and it certainly appears to us, that no stone is going to be left unturned when it comes to consumers safety. This of course is a subject very close our hearts and even more so because they are specifically looking at White Goods and the sources of where these products are again sold. This can be Charities, Online Sites including the likes of EBay and Amazon, and privately as well, all of which is EEESafe can bring to the table and work in partnership with the Primary Authority Model, that is fundamental to the Government strategy.
They are keen to work with everyone to ensure unsafe products are not reaching consumers, even including items that could contain banned materials or substances and counterfeit products or spares. Some batteries for instance, have not been approved for safe use because they have not been approved to work in other goods. A battery type for instance that conforms to compliance in a Power Drill, may when used in a Vape product result in a serious accident. No stone appears to be left unturned.
We’ve been informed at EEESafe they are at last looking in more detail of some of our own concerns around the misleading guidance on PAT Testing, which is important particularly for consumers and Landlords. Detail on these issues and others were recently fed into Fire Reform and Housing consultations, so this should result in a fully joined up approach in Government and we think we’ve helped raised the bar on Electrical Appliance Safety. As a Charitable based company, we are now in deeper debate now on the competence of repairers in White Goods, which potentially will allow us to generate more local funding for communities AND make homes safer. We want to ensure that the public and landlords can be more certain when a used refurbished/reused/recycled product provides improved safety when it enters a property.
Current Standards from the EU through their voluntary protocols in relation to how they handle Used and Waste Electrical Goods and parts, have been found wanting in safety as we’ve clearly illustrated in our Safer than a BSi article. This is part of the challenge we’re bringing to Government in terms of Safety, and we will get an answer on this in writing, we’ve been assured. As mentioned earlier Private Sales are going to come under their scrutiny as well, which has always been important to us and our designs. We cover this through the optional integration of our LocalitEEE model, which will help develop thriving communities and the delivery of a local business partnership with local consumers in a responsible consumption model, and create local funds for citizens and groups.
In safety terms, our model will engage citizens with Trained or Certified community repairers, which should help support Right To Repair communities, which may be of interest because this is a project next on the OPSS agenda. We have processes and tools to developing local support for their repair activities, the prevention of more electrical waste and becoming accountable for the work they do. It was clear from some of the Projects we saw, like the 3D Printing of Parts, that safety will be an issue, and we’ve already highlighted this in our Right To Repair article. Our information on this has already been fed into a couple of Government inquiries, but also as a safety solution for OPSS in working with their Primary Authority Model and sharing data for safety purposes.
Further scope and proposed discussion to work with the Manufacturers is in hand, as they seek to conform with the Eco Design Directive by provision of Technical Manuals to Professional Repairers. Our Certification and Qualification routes may offer a way to secure technical manuals from Manufacturers, as we help to evidence community safety protocols are evidenced in regulatory process.
Matters of safety are clearly being tackled seriously now by the UK Government as we get ready for a new world for the UK when we’re out of Brexit. Whatever the outcome, it’s clear we’re going to have a Safer Model with multi-agency benefits than the EU and one that delivers at a Community level and outcomes and metrics that can cover the planet, as we seek to make a rapid difference. Now that we can see a greater understanding by the Government of our Community and Safety Model, we’re confident our partnership will have recognised potential to help the UK lead at an international level through our innovative and award winning design and implementation.
We are utilising MP Support as well now, so stay tuned for further updates on our next meeting with OPSS and if you have any interest in our work, please submit your details HERE.