Monday December 20, 2021
Effective Dates Arise as Question for Commissioners
The appropriate amount of time given to companies to come into compliance with CPSC rules was the primary topic at a December 14 decisional meeting. The specifics of the two rulemakings – on magnet sets and window coverings – got little attention beyond bipartisan consensus that both matters needed movement. Commissioner Rich Trumka proposed three related amendments. All passed 4-0 as did the broader issue of seeking comments on the underlying rulemaking packages.
On magnet sets (PSL, 11/22/21), the commission changed the proposed effective date to 30 days. The draft NPR (bit.ly/3jkSC1K) had suggested 180 days, which Trumka observed is the longest allowed by the CPSA absent good cause for longer.
He asserted that not only was he unaware of such justification, but companies already had to comply with an essentially identical CPSC rule. A court vacated that rule in 2016 (PSL, 11/28/16), finding flaws with agency analysis of injury risk and product need/utility. This new rule addresses the concerns cited in the 2-1 ruling.
Building on Trumka's amendment, Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric suggested that commission practice should not be on defaulting to the longest possible period but on what is best for safety. Commissioner Dana Baiocco praised faster action, saying "There is no more time to waste." Commissioner Peter Feldman voiced appreciation for the move.
On the window-covering rulemaking targeting stock designs, Trumka pointed out that the proposed effective date was two years. He questioned if there is sufficient justification (the briefing package cited issues with "unusual sizes" and need to eliminate unadaptable product variations).
His pair of amendments changed the proposed timing to the maximum 180 days and sought comments on the time needed for companies to comply. Hoehn-Saric expressed preference for effective periods that are "as short as possible." Baiocco acknowledged that situations can arise that need longer times, but she asserted, "It's time to move on." Feldman said it would be important to consider what is in resulting comments and urged commissioners to be open to extending beyond 180 days but also to decreasing down to 30 days, which is the shortest length allowed by the CPSA.
A third rulemaking package passed without change. It would make stock designs that do not comply with WCMA A100.1-2018 subject to 15(j) action. Its companion action (above) on custom units potentially could be overtaken by voluntary standards action and eventual 15(j) treatment if the commission deems any potential WCMA requirements sufficient. Staffers told commissioners during a November briefing (PSL, 11/22/21) that they expected revived WCMA activity towards addressing CPSC's concerns.
After the session, WCMA expressed agreement with the 15(j) rulemaking but disappointment with the decision to move forward with the one on custom designs. It wrote:
"WCMA shares with the staff and leadership of CPSC the objective of addressing the risk to young children from the strangulation hazard of window covering cords; however, WCMA has already opened the ANSI/WCMA safety standard process to specifically address the custom product category with the same goal: the elimination of all free hanging cords from custom products. WCMA has demonstrated that the voluntary standard development process works, will achieve the same objective as the NPR and will be finalized sooner and in a more efficient manner than the NPR process. Today's CPSC action therefore is unnecessary, duplicative and will divert important resources that are needed to accomplish the objectives that are set forth for the ANSI/WCMA standard development process."