The Beginner’s Resource Guide to Promo Product Safety

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On August 2, Starbucks recalled over 2.5 million stainless steel straws due to several reports of children lacerating their mouths while drinking. Their branded product is now displayed on news and government websites, and not only is it negative publicity for them, it reflects poorly on their distributor and supplier as well.

The vast majority of professionals in the promotional products industry want to do the right thing. You want clients and consumers to have quality products, and you want to work with responsible business partners. And those involved in the Starbucks promotional product supply chain likely share those intentions. So what went wrong?

Navigating the legal requirements and best practices of product safety can be complex. While some recalls are due to non-compliance, sometimes product safety is not just a legal issue. A product may be in legal compliance, but if it still causes harm or is even just perceived to have that potential, the negative effects are the same. In addition, regulations can vary widely from state to state, and children’s products require extra scrutiny and knowledge.

Product safety is an issue that affects everyone in the industry, and it costs time and money to address whether you take a proactive or reactive approach. If you don’t want your business or your clients to be liable for defective, non-compliant or just poorly designed or manufactured products, then you will choose to be proactive. Fortunately, there are resources available to help you!

Product safety is an issue that affects everyone in the promo product industry. @SAGEQTI Click To Tweet

Product Safety with PPAIProduct-Safety

PPAI is the industry’s premier resource for product safety education. One of the easiest ways to arm yourself with knowledge is to enroll in their Product Safety Awareness Program to gain Product Safety Aware status for your company. Their four webinars take only an hour each, and your company will be allowed access to the PPAI marketplace once completed.

An alternative way to gain Product Safety Aware status is to attend PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit. The next summit is scheduled for Sunday, September 18 through Tuesday, September 20. The sessions will offer you a wealth of knowledge on all aspects of product safety, including legislation such as the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and California’s Prop 65, as well as voluntary standards to adopt.

Finally, if you visit PPAI’s website you will find several more resources, including the PPAI Tracking Label Database, PPAI Turbo Test, case studies, articles and guides. Access these and more at www.ppai.org/product-responsibility. For beginners and experts alike, PPAI is an excellent resource for self-education.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

The authoritative resource on product safety is, of course, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. They provide a variety of highly accessible information online at www.cpsc.gov/PromotionalProducts. Use the sidebar on the right to learn about CPSIA, children’s products and tracking label requirements.

You can follow their step-by-step business education guide showing you how to test, certify, label and report on your products, and they provide a comprehensive list of product and materials topics to explore further.

And if you have more questions, they even have a Small Business Ombudsman available to help you.

How SAGE Can Help

If you are a SAGE subscriber, you also have access to safety certifications when sourcing products from suppliers. SAGE currently includes search options for over 90 different standards, so you are sure to find products with the specifications you need.

When you conduct a product search, simply choose your required product safety certifications from a dropdown list, and your results will be filtered to show only products meeting those standards.

SAGE Online StandardsFilter product searches in SAGE Online by choosing your standard from a dropdown list.

As you find suppliers who match your requirements, you may also want to add them to a preference group to make future searches more seamless.

Product safety is an unavoidable concern in the promotional product industry, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. PPAI and the CPSC provide many quality resources for education, and with SAGE, you have integrated tools to help you find the right partners and the safest products. Your diligence will pay off in the long run with fewer problems, lower costs and safer products in the hands of consumers. And that’s what you call a safe bet!

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