OMG You Killed Someone?

Now the regulator wants to know.

New consumer protection laws in Australia will require business to keep a record of and report to the ACCC any circumstances of "death, serious injury or illness" arising from the appropriate use of their consumer goods, or any product related services.

What does this mean?

We'll start with a product related service because I can think of an easy example for that one. You get an airconditioning unit installed on a customer's roof and the installer falls off the roof and breaks a leg, requiring medical or surgical treatment. Clear? You, as the air conditioning unit manufacturer or distributer have to report.

Ok, harder example. Remember, this is consumer goods, not business to business. Say you distribute weight loss pills with a specific dosage. A customer following that specific dosage develops an adverse reaction and ends up in hospital on a ventilator with breathing difficulties. You have to report. Different if they overdosed – that is misuse of your product and not covered under these new laws.

As an aside, under Therapeutic Goods legislation you are already required to include a notice on your packaging that "the use of the goods in accordance with the recommendations may have an unintended harmful effect" if your are providing health products and you already know that is possible.

What about services? Curiously, if you provide a service, like a "transformational workshop" and a participant harms themself afterwards (it does happen, coroners deal with these cases every year) you are not covered by the legislation. Interesting omission.

This obligation means more record keeping and reporting for you.

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