CPSC Considers Revisions to Safety Certification Regulations

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has reopened its safety certification rulemaking proceedings to revise certification obligations for domestic and imported consumer products subject to CPSC safety standards, including architectural glass, among others. The CPSC rulemaking proceeding proposes revisions to its regulations governing consumer product certification protocol, primarily for children’s products and foreign-made goods subject to CPSC safety standards. The revisions, however, also apply to certifications of domestic non-children’s products subject to CPSC safety standards such as architectural glazing materials.

Kim Mann, general counsel for the Glass Association of North America (GANA) provided those attending the association’s recent fall conference with an update on where this matter stands currently.

According to Mann’s report, for domestic safety glass, the proposal shifts certification obligations from the fabricators to their downstream customers. GANA, through the Glazing Industry Code Committee (GICC), a committee within GANA, had opposed comments in July 2013 as part of an industry coalition, urging CPSC to revise its proposal to shift the legal responsibility for certifying the compliance of safety glazing materials from the glass fabricators to down-stream customers, specifically, to the door, shower/tub enclosure, and IG unit fabricators.

In their comments, GANA, along with other glass trade groups, including the Window & Door Manufacturers Association, Insulating Glass Manufactures Alliance, and the Aluminum Extruders Council (note: AAMA submitted its own comments, but also supported GICC’s), questioned the proposed definition of “finished products.”

According to a report issued previously by Mann, “The required certification must provide ‘consumers’ and other end users ten items of information – names, dates, addresses, telephone numbers, etc. The GICC Coalition comments point out that only safety glazing manufacturers have the testing capability and other information at hand necessary to complete and stand behind that certification and, for the past 36 years, they have been required by CPSC regulation to issue that certification of compliance. The Coalition comments request CPSC, in issuing the final version of its certification regulations, to maintain the status quo – keep certification with the glass fabricator – by revising the definition of ‘finished products’ manufacturer to exclude down-stream fabricator-customers of the safety glazing manufacturers.”

Those comments have not yet been acted on, according to Mann.

In addition, CPSC reopened the rulemaking proceedings, but this was limited to foreign-made imports. According to Mann, this came as a response to negative comments from importers and international trade groups. Mann explained that the proposal requires an “importer of record” to issue certification of compliance and file it electronically with CPSC at time of import. This, he said, could impact imported glass, adding that customs brokers/freight expeditors (i.e. FedEx, DHL, etc.) contend they are not qualified to do so and don’t want the liability. He said CPSC has reopened the proceeding to learn about the impact on foreign imports, and is open to additional comments, but will not re-examine proposed domestic consumer products cert rules.

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