In October, I had the opportunity to visit Louisville, Kentucky to speak at the Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE-EXPO) and tour UPS Worldport and GE Appliances. All three events provided a great opportunity for me to get outside to the Washington, DC bubble and hear how CPSC activity is impacting the real businesses.
At the GIE-EXPO, I was able to speak to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) Board of Directors meeting as well as participate in the Expo’s Regulatory Update session, which was open to all of the event’s attendees. In both these meetings I shared my perspective and approach to my work as a CPSC Commissioner. I listened to their concerns on a variety of issues including recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs), portable generators, and power tools.
The tour of USP Worldport, the world’s largest fully automated packaging-handling facility, was impressive. The facility processes an average of 1.6 million packages a day, with many of those shipped being consumer products. Learning more about how products are moved and managed throughout the stream of commerce reinforced the need for efficient surveillance at our nation’s ports.
Finally, I visited GE Appliances, which has added some 3,000 manufacturing jobs since 2010 and has invested over $1 billion in their Louisville operations. During my tour I was impressed by GE’s commitment to creating safe products, innovation, and customer satisfaction.
These visits came on the heels of the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security that Chairman Kaye and I provided testimony. This hearing focused on three very important topics that all industry stakeholders are paying close attention to: Voluntary Recall Rule, Retailer Reporting and Recall Effectiveness
While each is very different in structure, design and process, they all affect the removal of unsafe products from the stream of commerce. They all influence a process of either collaboration or hostility between the agency and stakeholders. The issue of the voluntary recall rule is a recurring theme that I hear whenever I engage with the regulated community.
The regulated community is on the frontlines of technology and innovation. Industry has access to resources – both monetary and technological – that CPSC often times does not.
If we can work together as partners, our mission could benefit greatly from what industry has to offer and may better equip the agency to identify emerging trends and risks. Industry leaders understand and are committed to developing, manufacturing, importing safe products. We can and will be better if we seize the tremendous opportunity to improve consumer safety, data evaluation, and recall effectiveness by working more collaboratively way with our industry and consumer advocate partners.