Friday, December 11, 2009

CPSIA - Thoughts on First Day of CPSC Workshops

1. The broad participation of so many different kinds of stakeholders provided the CPSC with valuable feedback on the current state of the marketplace. The Commission knows now that things remain messed up. Even component testing, the hot topic for today's session, is somehow controversial. One can only hope that the Commission recognizes that lifting the Stay at this point will be hazardous not only to the market but also to its own agency's health.

At a public meeting with Chairman Tenenbaum yesterday, she acknowledged that the Stay can only be lifted by action of the Commission. PLEASE KEEP THOSE EMAILS FLOWING TO THE COMMISSIONERS URGING THEM TO CONTINUE THE STAY.

Commissioner Northup asks that you use the following email address:

2. Consumer groups continue to aggressively seek to dominate the safety debate. David Pittle announced in my first panel discussion that he alone represented consumers in the discussion (on that panel). Of course, this is not true. Every single person at the table was a consumer, as were all their customers, suppliers, employees and families. It's time for the consumer advocates to stop asserting the higher moral ground and to limit their discussion to the issues at hand. We are all qualified to be at the table to discuss these issues of mutual interest and deserve to do so without arguing about who is more righteous.

3. An interesting point also came from the first panel, namely the distinction between COMPLIANCE and SAFETY. Can something be non-compliant but still safe? Of course, the answer is yes. It makes about as much sense to enforce the new standards as a strict liability limit as it does handing out speeding tickets for going one mile-an-hour over the speed limit. The debate needs to be exclusively about safety, not compliance, not how we feel or how we should feel. It's all about SAFETY.

4. I am increasingly hearing from CPSC Staff about the need to "keep things simple". This is music to my ears. Of course, it's a 12-step program because the law is still goofed up, their allocation of resources is therefore inherently goofed up, and we are already in a deep hole. Still, the very fact that complexity has been acknowledged as an issue is another sign that WE ARE BEING HEARD.

5. The CPSC is doing itself some good at this workshop by signalling that it is genuinely interested in dialogue. Coming on the heels of their strong effort to maintain an orderly marketplace for toys (Zhu Zhu Pet rescue effort), the good faith of the agency should be nurtured. They want to be trusted again, and I recommend that we return the favor with good will and good faith back to them. They deserve a chance as a good partner, and frankly, we need them as a partner. If they will honor this responsibility, again, we are making progress.

That's it for now!

1 comment:

Michael said...

Your post on ‘safety’ versus ‘compliance’ hits it right – there is no safety issue, achieving safety is a duty and already in the economic equation – and rightfully so. It is the compliance costs that are disconnected from reality.