Office for Product Safety and Standards: FAQs

The Office for Product Safety and Standards was created in January 2018 by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to enhance protections for consumers and the environment and drive increased productivity, growth and business confidence.

They are responsible for building national capacity for product safety and for the development of products that support small business growth and implement the Industrial Strategy vision of simplifying regulation.

What is the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)?

The national regulator for all consumer products, except for vehicles, medicines and food.

How is this relevant to construction and manufacturer’s products?

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Dame Judith Hackitt led an Independent Review into Building Regulation and Fire Safety. From this review came the Building Safety Bill which is currently progressing through Parliament. On the Bill, one of the recommendations is to establish a National Product Regulator with relevant expertise. It was agreed that OPSS should take up this role, operating as a Joint Unit, accountable to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) for its construction products function. It will become fully operational in 2022.

When was the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) introduced?

January 2018.

What is the aim of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)?

To support business confidence, productivity and growth by regulating a wide range of products with a focus on safety and integrity. Their mission is to be a trusted product regulator for the UK whilst leading Government policy on product safety, metrology, hallmarking and market surveillance.

What powers will the Building Safety Bill give to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)?

The strengthening of the regulation of construction products to ensure that all products are covered by a regulatory regime. Regulations made under these powers will introduce a new requirement for construction products to be safe, in line with the existing approach for consumer products.

Will there be new requirements for construction products?

New requirements will be created to ensure that products are ‘safety critical’, where their failure could cause death of serious injury to people. Manufacturers of these products will be required to declare their performance, put in place factory production controls to ensure that products consistently perform in line with this declaration and to correct, withdraw and recall products that do not comply or present a risk.

What are all of the roles of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)?

  • Provide vital market surveillance and oversight, including maintaining a national complaints system and supporting local Trading Standards so that safety concerns can be spotted and dealt with quickly.
  • Lead and co-ordinate the enforcement of the improved construction product regulations, including removing products that pose a safety risk from the market.
  • Provide advice and support to the industry to improve compliance as well as providing technical advice to the Government.
  • Carry out or commissions its own product-testing to investigate non-compliance.
  • Establish a robust and coherent approach with the Building Safety Regulator and Trading Standards to drive change across the sector.
  • Work with the construction industry to help it prepare to comply with regulatory changes, focusing on the introduction of general safety equipment, which will require many manufacturers to consider the risks posed by their products for the first time.

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