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Monday February 21, 2022

Use Compliance Program Guidance, Murphy Urges Companies

Other stories this week (plus a few extra)


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CPSC is not in "gotcha mode" when it comes to enforcement action, Mary Murphy, director of the enforcement and litigation division in the Compliance Office told an ICPHSO audience February 16. She asserted that availability of broad CPSC guidelines (such as for compliant activity suggests otherwise.


Murphy relatedly urged companies to work with agency technical staff when unsure if products have defects. "We have a lab full of real smart people," she said.


Such doubt does not remove timely reporting duties, she cautioned, asserting there should not be surprises on that question either. "I'm not sure that people really read" the requirements, she commented in reference to the idea of "segregated information." This is the claim that the pertinent information was with the wrong company division.


She countered that with CPSC's expectation of "imputed knowledge." This means that once someone who can be reasonably expected to understand the significance learns of a problem, the reporting timeline kicks in. Such people knowing to immediately push that information to those responsible to report is addressed by compliance programs.


Murphy also advised that companies not distinguish between injury and non-injury incidents. The latter might just indicate luck not a lack of a safety risk. Similarly, she urged paying attention to incidents outside the U.S. There can be situations like electrical supply difference that isolate a problem geographically, but usually not, she said.


She stressed the need to treat internal investigations and reporting as parallel actions, not sequential. Figuring out the cause of a problem is the right action to take, but doing so is separate from the duty to report.