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Product Safety Under Australian Consumer Law For Businesses

Rigorous rules and regulations govern the safety of products distributed and sold by Australian businesses. These laws are designed to ensure the safety of consumers, and to hold businesses accountable for their actions.


As a business, it is essential to act in line with Australian Consumer Law to prevent major loss and protect the wellbeing of your clients. This is true whether you supply consumer goods or product-related services, such as the repair or assembly of consumer goods.


Here are just a few risks of failing to consider your responsibilities when it comes to product safety:

  • A compensation claim from an injured client, or their family. Compensation can be for losses that are due to injuries, illness, or death. They can also be due to damage to other items (e.g., machinery) that resulted from a safety defect.

  • The reputational damage, logistical burden and time consumption of a banned product or a recall notice.

  • Massive penalties under Australian consumer law for not meeting your requirements, of up to over $1 million for a body corporate.

  • Significant penalties for not telling the right people the right information at the necessary moment. For example, failing to tell the relevant minister that you have submitted a recall, or failing to inform the relevant authorities in the necessary period of death, injury or illness caused by your product.


What Mandatory Safety Standards Apply To My Product?

Mandatory safety standards that are in place within Australia are often specialised to a particular product or service, depending on how it is classed.


For any given product, it is generally necessary to consider the manufacture and design of the product, what it contains, what mandatory tests it must go through to be deemed fit for sale, and whether it is necessary to provide a disclaimer or instructions alongside the product.


Any given standard may also stipulate how the goods are supplied and what requirements (e.g., qualifications) the supplier must meet.


In determining whether you are meeting your product safety requirements, it is important to consider what constitutes ‘reasonably foreseeable use’ for the product in question. Even misuse can be reasonably foreseeable.


How Can I Defend Myself In A Compensation Claim Due To A Faulty Product?

A compensation claim or penalty against your business is less likely to succeed if a business has taken certain precautions, marketed the goods lawfully, and included necessary disclaimers.


Your Sydney lawyer may be able to defend you on the grounds that the defect was not extant at time of supply, that the defect was not discoverable at the time, that the defect arose due to a separate but connected product, or that the defect arose due to compliance with a mandatory standard.


When it comes to limiting your liability, there is no substitute to an experienced legal services firm such as Arida Lawyers. Our team can provide advice, counsel and representation across contract law, debt recovery, and consumer law. Contact Arida Lawyers on 1300 146 390 or info@aridalawyers.com to limit your risk or if a consumer is accusing you of supplying an unsafe product.


This article provides general information relevant to our expert services. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If you are seeking legal advice, you should contact us for a free initial consultation.


Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

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