The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO) Annual Meeting and Training Symposium is underway in Arlington, Va., and there are a record 800 product safety professionals in attendance.  ICPHSO is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

There is a good mix of manufacturers, retailers, industry associations, and independent test labs here.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is represented by over 50 employees.  MET Laboratories is a sponsor and an exhibitor.  If you are at ICPHSO, let’s meet: 410.949.1856

Yesterday featured an interesting session on “Tools for Understanding and Anticipating Product Failure.”  Tim Cassidy, a panelist and Senior Manager of Product Safety and Compliance at Best Buy, explained how product safety complaints from consumers are handled by retailers.  His conclusions:

  • Real consumer data is messy – consumers report incomplete and often inaccurate information
  • It’s not always clear what the best course of action is
  • Often consumer motives are not related to safety – they just want a replacement product that works

Cassidy also explained under what circumstances Best Buy will engage in product “forensics”:

  • When there is litigation against the retailer’s private label products
  • When the retailer suspects a quality or reliability issue could have serious consequences
  • As a double check against vendor analysis
  • To deepen understanding of a particular technology or design

Best Buy will also engage in FMEA for product failure analysis.  FMEA stands for Failure Mode and Effect Analysis.  FMEA can include MTBF calculations, HALT testing, or design reviews.

For Best Buy, FMEA has two purposes:

  • A means of knowing what happens when components fail
  • Criticality analysis (CA) guides corrective measures resulting from FMEA work

Today is “CPSC Day” and features a keynote from Inez Moore Tenenbaum, U.S. CPSC Chairman.  The ICPHSO Meeting ends tomorrow.

If you are a product safety compliance professional, you’ll want to attend MET’s upcoming free webinar on Using the CB Scheme to Access the World Marketplace.

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