Consumer Safety and Health Network Workshop Explores Cross-Border Risk Assessment

July 28, 2014 | Consumer product safety regulators from 19 countries met in Washington, DC last week to collaborate and share information on risk assessment practices at a workshop hosted by the Consumer Safety and Health Network (CSHN), an organization coordinated by the Organization of American States (OAS) with the support of the Pan American Health Organization.

The week-long forum (July 21-25) brought together 30 regulators from the Americas, including representatives from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as representatives from Spain and Portugal, who together make up the OAS regulator network. Throughout the event, participants discussed: 1) terminology, concepts and approach to risk assessment, in order to develop a common understanding of “risk,” and 2) the development of an Inter-Americas Rapid Alert System for sharing product safety information across borders.

The Toy Industry Association (TIA) participated in the three-day risk assessment portion of the workshop, held July 21-23. TIA’s Joan Lawrence, vice president of standards and regulatory affairs, and Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs, were the only non-regulators invited to take part in the forum. 

During TIA’s formal presentation, Lawrence and Kaufman provided regulators with an overview of how risk assessment is used and approached by the toy industry. They also participated in small breakout sessions and provided the group with practical recommendations to consider in their development of the Inter-Americas Rapid Alert System during the remaining two days of the workshop (July 24-25), open to regulators only.

“As a leader in the ongoing development and refinement of safety standards and initiatives designed to protect the world’s youngest consumers, TIA appreciated this important opportunity to work directly with representatives of global consumer protection agencies,” said Lawrence.  “We recognize the value of industry-regulator collaboration and look forward to furthering our dialogue with the CSHN/OAS regulator community in the future.”

TIA was a sponsor of the 2014 CSHN workshop and previously participated in a CSHN workshop held in Lima, Peru last November, focused on sharing information on regulations for toy and children's product safety.  The Network's invitation to TIA for last week’s workshop follows the positive relationship TIA has built with this exclusive regulator forum.