Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) President Joseph M. McGuire testified before The U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Insurance, and Automotive Safety on legislation, S.2045, to reform the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission introduced by subcommittee chair Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR). McGuire appeared last week on behalf of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) coalition on consumer product safety.
"Increased dollars should be directed to enhancing the CPSC's personnel dedicated to product testing, evaluation and enforcement and to improved technology and facilities," said McGuire, a former NAM Board member and Chair of its Council of Manufacturing Associations.
McGuire said AHAM and NAM members are committed to ensuring that the U.S. marketplace provides safe products to all Americans. "Although we believe that the American marketplace is safer than ever, and that the CPSC does a good job of leveraging its resources, the perception of many consumers is the opposite. This troubles us as our economic viabilitydepends on the confidence of the public in our products."
In addition to increased funding for the consumer protection agency, McGuire also called for several general and specific legislative changes to bolster the federal product safety authority. Included was a recommendation for federal action to ensure the proper installation of cooking ranges with anti-tip devices, which are shipped with all ranges according to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety standards and many building codes. "My industry proposes that it be a violation of federal law for a person, at least a commercial installer or landlord, to install a range that is not compliant with the UL standard and building code provisions," said McGuire.
McGuire cautioned the Congress to focus on the core issues related to making CPSC more effective and to avoid measures that could change the cooperative system of manufacturer and retailer participation in CPSC reporting requirements. For example, manufacturers oppose repeal of the process under which firms may review and comment on the accuracy and fairness of the release by CPSC of company-specific information; allowing state attorneys general to enforce federal safety laws, establishing CPSC as an adjudicator of employee-employer disputes over safety claims and radically raising the ceiling on civil penalties to US$100 million and expanding criminal penalties.