The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today released its updated Mandatory Reporting Guideline to help businesses understand and comply with their mandatory reporting obligations.
Businesses must submit a mandatory report when they become aware of a death or serious injury or illness from a consumer good or product related service they supplied. The ACCC uses this information to identify emerging hazards and risks in consumer goods and product related services, and to take action to prevent similar injuries, illnesses or fatalities.
The updated guideline also recommends voluntary reporting of incidents that do not meet the mandatory reporting requirements, such as near misses, to help provide the ACCC with an early indication of potential product safety issues.
The ACCC has updated the Product Safety Australia website with new mandatory reporting information and tools to make it easier for businesses to understand and comply with their obligations, including a:
- quick guide that summarises obligations, making it easier for businesses to understand what they must do
- template notice that suppliers may use to help inform staff about processes for mandatory reporting
- questionnaire to help businesses ask relevant questions of a person reporting an incident
- flowchart to determine if an incident must be reported.
The mandatory reporting requirement
Businesses must submit a mandatory report when they become aware that the use or foreseeable misuse of a consumer product they have supplied has caused, or may have caused, a death or serious injury or illness.
These requirements apply even when the:
- consumer did not use the good in the intended way, as long as the misuse was foreseeable
- death or serious injury or illness occurred outside of Australia.
Once a business becomes aware of an incident, they must report it to the Commonwealth Minister within 2 days. They can do this by using the ACCC online mandatory reporting form
Mandatory reports are confidential and are not an admission of liability. However, if a business fails to submit a mandatory report, where a report is required, they may be found guilty of a criminal offence and be liable to a penalty of $3,330 for an individual or $16,650 for a body corporate.
This guidance material has been developed by the ACCC in response to stakeholder feedback seeking further guidance and practical examples to assist businesses to comply with their mandatory reporting obligations.