Product safety guidance from ISO

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The International Standards Organisation (ISO) publishes standards on a wide range of topics, including consumer product safety. You may be aware, for example, of ISO standard 8124 for children’s toys.

But ISO also publishes a range of standards and guides that apply across all product types.

Guidance standards

In 2013 new ISO standards were published for the first time on product safety systems: ISO 10377 Consumer product safety – Guidelines for suppliers, and ISO 10393 Consumer product recall – Guidelines for suppliers.

ISO 10377:2013 Consumer product safety – Guidelines for suppliers

This helpful standard gives detailed practical guidance on assessing and managing the safety of products. It covers the design and production stages of a consumer product’s life.

It describes principles and practical approaches to effective product safety management; explains the basics such as corporate culture, training, risk management, product traceability and documentation.

It also outlines safety in design, including behavioural patterns, misuse, hazard identification and risk reduction measures; gives guidance for safety in production and in the marketplace; and explains consumers’ role.

ISO 10393:2013 Consumer product recall – Guidelines for suppliers

ISO 10393 picks up where ISO 10377 leaves off – to cover the product supply chain & distribution and the supplier:consumer relationship

This standard provides practical guidance to suppliers on consumer product recalls and other corrective actions after the product has left the manufacturing facility. Other corrective actions include, but are not limited to, refunds, retrofit, repair, replacement, disposal and public notification.

You might like to see our product safety checklist, which is based on these two standards.

Systems standards 

While ISO 10377 and 10393 are called standards, they are for guidance rather than intended for use in performance or compliance assessments.

ISO also publishes standards on systems for product safety related topics such as risk management, compliance management systems, complaint handling, quality assurance.

ISO Guides

As well as standards, ISO also publishes a series of guides. Many of them provide really helpful information for people working to make products safe, even though they’re primarily developed as guidance for those writing standards.

The good news is that many of them are ‘publicly available’ and can be downloaded free of charge! Just look for the ‘freely available’ link on the guide’s page.

The most useful ones are:

Guide 37 – Instructions for use of products by consumers

ISO/IEC Guide 37:2012 establishes principles and gives recommendations on designing and formulating instructions for product use by consumers. It is intended to be used by:

  • product designers, manufacturers, technical writers or other people engaged in the work of conceiving and drafting such instructions;
  • importers, regulators, inspection bodies and researchers.

Guide 50 – Safety aspects – Guidelines for child safety in standards and other specifications (On the free list)

This guide provides considerations for children’s safety in standards and product design. It highlights children’s risk factors, describes risk reduction mechanisms, describes children’s development & behaviour and the principles for applying these to product design.

It also gives a description of injury mechanisms, with examples and remedial strategies and includes a simple checklist on hazard categories, children’s characteristics and product related safeguards.

Guide 51 – Safety aspects – Guidelines for their inclusion in standards (On the free list)

Guide 51 provides considerations for risk reduction in a general product safety context. It focuses on hazard mitigation through design, information and other methods. It also describes principles of risk tolerance, assessment and management; and how to apply these to standards and products.

Guide 71 – Guide for addressing accessibility in standards (On the free list)

This guide can be helpful in designing and assessing products for people with disabilities including older persons. It includes descriptions of, and design considerations for, human abilities and characteristics.

Guide 74 – Graphical symbols — Technical guidelines for the consideration of consumers’ needs (On the free list)

Guide 74 gives procedures for the development of graphical symbols for public information, use in safety signs and product safety labels, and use on equipment and products.

Check them out

So, go ahead and make use of these valuable tools that can help guide your work in making consumer products safe.


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