If you import, produce or distribute goods, including second-hand, the law states they must be safe for the consumer to use.
Trading Standards enforces a wide range of legislation which ensures that goods are safe. We do this by providing business with guidance, testing products and taking enforcement action, including prosecution, against those who flout the law.
Detailed guidance on product safety including best practice procedures can be found via the Chartered Trading Standards Institutes Business Companion.
The Office for Product Safety & Standards is the National regulator for product safety and routinely publishes guidance via their website.
Guidance which applies to allconsumer products
- General product safety: producers - the requirements under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 for manufacturers, importers and own-branders
- General product safety: distributors - the requirements under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 for retailers and wholesalers
- Product safety: due diligence - if your business manufacturers, imports, distributes, sells or supplies goods you have to comply with the law; this may include checking to ensure that UKCA-marked products are fit to bear the mark
- Unsafe goods: liability - a guide to the consequences of supplying unsafe goods, and who is liable for the damage caused by the defect
COVID-19 product related guidance
- Face coverings - guidance for manufacturers and makers of face coverings.
- Hand sanitisers and hand cleaning products - guidance on placing hand cleaning and sanitising products on the UK market.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - guidance on products which claim efficacy against COVID-19 and other viruses.
Product specific guidance
- Batteries - there are safety requirements for all types of battery, both rechargeable and non-rechargeable, intended for use in consumer applications
- Candles, diffusers, oil heaters, etc. - there are specific safety requirements for candles, diffusers, room sprays, fragrant aromatherapy oil heaters and lamps
- Construction products - essential information for suppliers of construction products, including UKCA marking
- Cosmetic products - if you sell cosmetic products, they must be safe; there are specific requirements for composition and labelling
- E-scooters - specific safety requirements and advice on the legal requirements relating to electrically powered transporters (e-scooters), including the use of the UKCA mark
- Electrical equipment - essential information for suppliers of electrical equipment, including UKCA marking
- Electrically assisted pedal cycles - specific safety requirements and advice on the legal requirements relating to electrically assisted pedal cycles when used on public roads, including the use of the UKCA mark
- Food imitations - the law on the supply of articles that resemble food products
- Goods in rented accommodation - all goods supplied as part of a let of furnished residential accommodation must be safe, including gas installations and appliances
- Jewellery safety: metal content - the requirements on nickel, lead and cadmium in jewellery, and why this is controlled
- Leather goods - there are strict controls on the presence of certain chemicals in leather goods that are sold to consumers
- Mini motos, off road vehicles, etc - specific safety requirements apply to mini motos, quad bikes, powered mini scooters and off-road vehicles, including the use of the UKCA mark
- Nightwear - the safety, labelling and treatment of nightwear for children and adults
- Novelty, decorative and ornamental giftware - the safety requirements of different types of giftware, including candles, collectors’ items and models
- Recreational craft - essential information for suppliers of recreational craft, including UKCA marking
- Toys - the labelling and safety requirements for new toys, and how the law applies to toys sold second-hand
- Upholstered furniture (new) - upholstered furniture must pass safety tests and be labelled correctly with regards to its flammability
Product Safety guidance for second-hand goods:
- Part worn tyres - the law requires part-worn tyres to be labelled and to meet minimum safety standards
- Second hand electrical goods - if second-hand electrical goods are to be sold they must meet the legal safety requirements
- Second hand gas cooking appliances - second-hand gas cooking appliances must be safe when supplied and a competent person must confirm this
- Second hand upholstered furniture - used furniture must pass safety tests regarding flammability
- Used car sales - used vehicles on sale must be given a truthful description, and must also be safe and roadworthy
Other Useful Sources of Guidance
The Office for Product Safety & Standards publish details of unsafe products and product recalls on a weekly basis.
The British Standards Institute hosts a library of all standards relevant to product safety.
Electrical Safety First is a campaigning charity that aims to reduce deaths and injuries caused by electricity in UK homes. Their website hosts useful guidance on electrical safety.
Published: 27 July 2021
Last updated: 27 July 2021