Spotlight on Safety Program: Q&A with Toy Association’s Alan Kaufman, Course Presenter

Alan KaufmanAugust 26, 2019 | Toy professionals who want to brush up on their knowledge of federal, state, and international toy safety regulations and laws are encouraged to sign up for the toy industry’s premier Safety Education Program, a comprehensive, online course that is free for all Toy Association members. Toy News Tuesday editors recently sat down with course presenter Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs at The Toy Association, to learn about the portion of the course he developed to help participants better understand the international toy safety landscape.

Q: Can you give our readers some insight into your area of expertise and what you bring to the program?

AK: I’ve been working in the toy industry for more than 40 years, addressing sourcing, product safety, quality assurance, regulatory compliance, and product testing issues for toy companies and retailers. I’ve been at The Toy Association since 2011, leading the development and implementation of technical policies and strategies related to toy safety, the environment, supply chain issues, factory processes, and other topics. I’m involved in global organizations related to consumer product health and safety, travel extensively to meet with foreign agencies to discuss U.S.-international standards alignment, and am in daily communication with Toy Association members who need advice on compliance and other safety matters.

Q: One of your sections of the course covers international toy standards. Can you describe what course participants can expect to learn in this area?

AK: This part of the course, delivered by Christian Wetterberg, senior director of product safety and compliance at The LEGO Group, and me, provides an overview of international requirements for toys, including specifics on how compliance can be achieved. It covers Canadian requirements (including the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act); other international standards (including European Union regulations); and an overview of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) toy standard ISO 8124.

Q: What else does the Safety Education Program cover?

AK: In addition to the international regulations listed above, the course walks participants through the U.S. federal and state product safety landscape, providing important compliance details on specific toy types and lending insight into how to track evolving standards, among other critical information. All 12 modules are offered in webinar format, making it easy for participants to go through the entire program at their own pace.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

AK: There has never been a more important time for toy manufacturers and other industry stakeholders to ensure that they are up to speed on all toy safety regulations and laws. It can mean the difference between thriving and having a major setback because you accidentally overlooked a key aspect of compliance, since the costs of non-compliance (fines, recall costs, civil liability, etc.) can be significant. Participants who successfully complete the program will receive a certificate of completion that can be shared on resumes and LinkedIn to let peers and potential employers know that they are “toy safety experts.”

More information about The Toy Association’s Safety Education Program is available online.