2018 Northwest Regional Workshop “Call For Presentations” Now Open!

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ICPHSO is now accepting proposals for our 2018 Northwest Regional Product Safety Training Workshop, June 19, 2018 in Seattle, Washington.   The Regional Training Workshop is hosted by Amazon and will be held at the Amazon Meeting Center in Seattle.  ICPHSO is excited to bring our Regional Workshop back to Seattle and again work with Board Member DE Fenton, who is the Workshop Planning Committee Chairman.   Here’s the link for the Call for Presentations.  Hotel, Registration, Sponsorship and Exhibitor information is coming soon.  Check the ICPHSO Event Page for updated information.



Only 113 days to Seattle!

Can you believe it?  Here we are only a few days out of our 2018 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium and only 113 days to go (June 19, 2018)  until our Northwest Regional Product Safety Training Workshop at Amazon in Seattle, Washington.  Board Members DE Fenton and Renee Chiang are actively working on the Northwest Regional Meeting.  We hope to roll out our theme, call for presentations and hotel information in the next couple of weeks.  At the same time, Board Member Rod Freeman is working with the European Commission (EC) to further develop ICPHSO’s 2018 International Symposium November 12-13, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.  The EC’s International Product Safety Week takes place November 12-15, 2018.  As details become available, I will report on them.   We are also working again with ASTM to develop a one-day workshop on April 13, 2018 at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. on age label guidelines.  You will want to save the date and not miss this unique one day workshop which will include experts in this area.

2018 Symposium Highlights:

From Tutorials to our Key Note speakers on Block Chain Technology and the CPSC, we think we offered something for everyone last week during the kick-off of our 25th Silver Jubilee Anniversary Year.   Belinda May, as Symposium Planning Chair and now President,  really put on a  great training meeting. It will certainly be hard to top what we did, although I am confident we certainly will try!  We are working hard to upload all the final presentations and provide an updated final Symposium attendee list as soon as we can.  We had over 825 attendees from 18 countries in attendance and I want to thank each of you for the choice you made to attend our Annual Symposium.  The support you provide allows us to bring you the type of content filled Symposia you have come to expect from us.  Incoming President Matt Howsare is already working on our 2019 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium which will be held Monday, February 25 through Thursday, February 28, 2019 at the Marriott Renaissance Downtown, Washington, DC.  We were last at this hotel in 2016 and we are looking forward to our return next year.

I wanted to reference a few highlights from our 2018 Annual Symposium.

Tutorials included, CPSC Compliance Beginners and Refresher course; sessions on the regulation of Drones; Lithium Ion Batteries; Ethics and Product Safety; Leveraging the Reach of Health and Human Service Providers to Enhance Consumer Product Safety and How to Make Retailers Happy among others.

New ICPHSO Executive Committee Officers include:  President:  Belinda May, Dentons LLC; President Elect and 2019 Symposium Planning Chairman: Matt Howsare, Mintz Levin; and Vice President:  Rick Rosati, Bureau Veritas. New ICPHSO Board Members include: Tabatha Bauer, Staples; Andy Church, Insight Quality Services; Don Huber, Consumer Reports; and Matt Smith, ICIX.  Read the Press Release Here

Also,we want to welcome to the Board as Ex-Officio Members, Geoff Barrett, Health Canada and Carol Cave, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

We were honored to be able to provide Health Canada, PROFECO and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission the opportunity to sign a trilateral memo of understanding at our Symposium which will promote consumer product safety in North America.  We were all  witness to something quite historic as a result. Read the Press Release Here

We also announced that Carol-Pollack Nelson was the recipient of the 2018 Ross Koeser Achievement Award.  The award, named after one of our Founders and First Executive Director annually recognizes a member for their significant contributions to ICPHSO.  Carol indeed exemplifies this through her work as a volunteer, former Board Member and President.  Carol also was the coordinator of our very successful 25th Anniversary Splitsville Bowling event, attended by some 350 of our attendees.  The food, drinks, bowling, games, deserts,  and company was outstanding.   ICPHSO also announced a special service award that was given to long-term member Bruce Farquhar for his continued outstanding in assuring ICPHSO has a global presence especially with international regulators.

And finally, who can forget our 25th anniversary year kick off fireworks event held Tuesday evening after our welcome reception.  Over ten minutes of up close and personal fireworks celebrating ICPHSO and its anniversary.  Our thanks again to John Rogers, Executive Director, AFSL and PYROTECNICO for a show we won’t soon forget.  It was a great way to kick off our anniversary year.

Thanks again to all attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, gift card and gift bag sponsors and a special thanks to Association Manager, Kimber Nation;  Association Administrator, Tara Reddy ; and to Yvette Duron and Emma Celeste for assisting us during the Symposium.  Without the continued support and assistance from Kimber and Tara, this meeting would never have taken place.   I hope to provide more updates on specific sessions in the future as well as update you on upcoming events.  Follow my blog for updates.






ICPHSO 2018 Annual Symposium Update…

Only 25 days to go to the kick-off of ICPHSO’s Silver Jubilee Year with our 2018 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium in Orlando, Florida.  We are processing registrations as quickly as possible and while there have been some issues affecting on line registration, we will also accept your registration form via email and will manually process your requests.  Remember, Symposium registration rates go up February 2, 2018 so don’t delay.

I am pleased to announce ICPHSO will be presenting the 2018 Ross Koeser Achievement Award to Carol Pollack-Nelson, a human factors psychologist, who has served ICPHSO in many capacities over the years, as a board member, a past president, coordinator of our Symposium Job Matching program and this year leading our 25th Anniversary events.  Many of you know Carol through her tutorials and panel presentations focused on best practices, safe design and warning label design and effectiveness.   Carol is well deserving of the recognition that comes with the reward and truly exemplifies the ICPHSO spirit.

ICPHSO is also recognizing our long time member, Bruce Farquhar, an internationally recognized expert on non-food consumer product safety, with a Special Service Award in recognition of Bruce’s service and dedication in bringing global regulators into ICPHSO as well as coordinating our earliest International Symposiums.  Bruce’s efforts to ensure we are and remain an international organization is appreciated and deserves recognition as we celebrate our 25th anniversary.

We kick off our Symposium at noon on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 with a CPSC Lunch and Learn Compliance Tutorial.  The Compliance tutorial is a great beginning for those who aren’t that familiar with CPSC as well as a great refresher course for those who deal with Commission,  leading into CPSC morning on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

On Tuesday evening, February 20, 2018, ICPHSO will have a special fireworks celebration kicking off our Silver Jubilee Anniversary Year just after our evening Welcome Reception.  Our Welcome Reception runs from 6:15 pm to 7:45 pm where we will serve light refreshments and drinks and you have an opportunity to network as well as meet our exhibitors and sponsors.  Promptly at 7:45 pm we will be led outside to the fireworks viewing area where our celebration continues with a special desert and drink in honor of ICPHSO.  We should be done before 8:30 pm, so schedule your dinner plans after the fireworks event!   This is a one time ICPHSO event you won’t want to miss.  Thanks to sponsors AFSL and PYROTECNICO for hosting this celebration.

Our first timer and new member breakfast is on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, in Regency Hall.  ICPHSO as you will hear is unlike any other organization and by joining us for this special breakfast, you will learn more about ICPHSO and meet and hear from ICPHSO leaders.

Our Keynote Speakers at lunch on Wednesday are Brigid McDermott, Vice President, IBM and Frank Yiannas, Vice President, Walmart who will discuss the emerging Blockchain Technology and its potential application across multiple compliance areas, including product safety.

Its not too late to sign up for our Anniversary event at Splitsville in Disney Springs, Wednesday, February 21, 2018.  For a nominal fee of $25 we will transport you to Splitsville with continuous bus shuttles from the Hyatt for an evening of networking, food, drinks, (including the Stericycle Smash), bowling (remember to bring your extra pair of socks) and other games.  Thanks to sponsors Stericycle and ICIX for hosting our bar, beverage, desert and coffee  at the event.  You also won’t want to miss the sponsored bowling lanes (some still available).

If you haven’t checked out our Symposium Schedule, please do so – it’s updated daily with new content, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor and room information.  Belinda May and her Symposium Planning Committee have prepared an outstanding week of critical product safety training and education.

Finally,  our Friday, February 23, 2018, Luncheon Roundtable Discussion being led by Past President Nancy Cowles and a distinguished group of product safety professionals will explore “Disrupting the Status Quo to Move Safety Forward.” Immediately following the luncheon discussion we are planning a town hall closing session with leading product safety experts and leaders to discuss technology as we head into the future. So plan on staying until the end!

As you can see we have a full week planned for our attendees.  We look forward to seeing you in Orlando and appreciate your continued support of ICPHSO.  Please feel free to contact me at mschoem@icphso.org if you have any questions, comments or problems related to the Symposium.



Welcome 2018…

Happy New Year 2018

It’s hard to believe there are less than 50 days until ICPHSO’s 2018 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium in Orlando, Florida, February 20-23, 2018.  We are in the home stretch now in our planning for Orlando and the kick-off of our 25th Anniversary year.

If you haven’t registered yet, please do so today. The registration rate goes up February 2, 2018 so you want to take advantage of the lower rates today.  Remember also, ICPHSO members also receive a significant registration rate discount.   Hotel rooms with the ICPHSO reduced room rate at the Hyatt Grand Cypress are starting to sell out on certain days, so be sure to make your room reservation as well.  We still have exhibitor space and always welcome additional sponsors.  Don’t forget to also sign up for the special 25th anniversary networking event at Splitsville in Disney Springs costing only a nominal $25.00 charge for drinks, food, bowling, games and the opportunity to visit with your colleagues and peers on a less formal basis.  Space is limited so sign up to attend when you register for the Symposium.  Bus transportation to and from Disney Springs is being provided by ICPHSO.  If you are having difficulty registering for the Symposium or the Splitsville event, feel free to use the registration form listed on our website and send it to us for processing.

The agenda for the week is updated on a daily basis, so be sure to check out the updated Schedule Here.

On behalf of ICPHSO, I wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!  I look forward to seeing you all in a much warmer Orlando, Florida.



International Symposium Summary; Consumer Survey; CPSC Training; Annual Symposium Update…

Here are some updates on past and upcoming  ICPHSO activities that may be of interest to you.  The information can be found at the links below.  They are located in the promotional articles section at the bottom left side of the ICPHSO home page.

International Symposium, Tokyo, Japan – November 14-15, 2017:

The summary for the two day Symposium have been completed and they are located in the promotional article section at the bottom left side of the ICPHSO home page.  Thanks to the Cooley Law Team who provided the summaries (Rod Freeman, Alex Radcliffe, Carol Roberts, and Sarah-Jane Dobson).  Any observations included in these summaries don’t necessarily reflect the views of ICPHSO or Cooley. Each summary can be found at the links below:

Day One Keynote Presentations

Day One Plenary Sessions

Day One Breakout Sessions

Day Two Sessions

Consumers International Consumer Product Safety Survey:

A survey has been developed by Consumers International to gather information about consumer protection frameworks for product safety across the world.  ICPHSO is providing a copy of the survey links for anyone who might be interested in participating.  The survey is being conducted by Consumers International and not ICPHSO.  Here’s the link to participate:

Consumers International Survey

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission – Product Safety Training for Buyers and Sourcing Professionals:

Shanghai: March 13, 2018; Guangzhou: March 15, 2018; and Ho Chi Minh City: March 20, 2018.  If you are interested in any of these free training opportunities with simultaneous interpretation, please see the information contained in the link below:

CPSC Buyer and Sourcing Training

2018 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium, Orlando, Florida – February 20-23, 2018

A reminder to register to attend our 25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Year Kick-Off Symposium.  Hotel Rooms are going fast so you want to reserve your room today.  There are still many sponsorship opportunities available as well as a limited number of exhibitor tables.  The agenda for the Symposium is now posted and is being updated daily as new information on panel speakers becomes available.  Check  out the ICPHSO Event Page for updated information on the 2018 Symposium. Also check out highlighted sessions on the ICPHSO home page.  During the opening lunch on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, , CPSC staff will present a Lunch and Learn CPSC Compliance Beginners (and Refresher) Tutorial that you won’t want to miss.   Further information about CPSC morning events on Thursday, February 22, 2018 will be posted soon.  Don’t forget our Anniversary event at Splitsville in Disney Springs as well as an ICPHSO Golf Scramble.  Each of these events are limited in numbers, so be sure to register early to participate for a nominal additional fee.

2018 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium Agenda








ICPHSO 2017 International Symposium Recap: Day 1 Keynote Speakers

ICPHSO 2017 Toyko International Symposium_website banner 05.02.17SaveDate ICPHSO’s first visit to Tokyo, Japan and our just completed 2017 International Symposium was a great success.  The attendee turn out from more than 15 different countries provided a global perspective during the Symposium.  And, our panels of expert speakers, our sponsors and exhibitors all reminded us why the “I” is in ICPHSO’s name.

ICPHSO brings together manufacturers, retailers, regulators, and others from the safety community to discuss, learn and be trained on how to make the world a safer place for all consumers.  The international aspect of those topics is becoming more and more important in Japan as we learned from keynote presentations by Government of Japan regulators.  In Japan, companies have led innovation for decades and Japanese consumers have an appetite for innovative products.  Below I will highlight notes from our keynote speakers for Day 1 of the Symposium:

Takashi Wada, Director of the Product Safety Division,  Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).


Director Wada highlighted areas of issues  based primarily on the advancement of global technologies affecting consumers within Japan and discussed specific issues and how actions have been taken to improve the safety of various products. METI manages and endorses counter measures of suppliers.

The total number of accident reports has been decreasing over the last 9 years. 802 accidents reported in 2016. 672 (80%) were fires and fire by electrical appliances is the most common.

Elderly people – relatively speaking are involved with more product deaths and injuries. Accidents for children under 10 are mostly serious or severe.  Deaths – rising for the elderly people in their 70s, 80s etc. according to their data. Fatal accidents involving elderly people over the age of 80 are increasing. Japan has a respect for Elderly day in September, which is a holiday, and products which are common for accidents with the elderly are highlighted in a press release and in other ways to protect the elderly based on the injury and death data collected.



Post market product: manufacturer recalls. No special laws that mandate a recall, but manufacturers can be instructed to act. Normally, voluntary decision is needed to conduct the recall.  In 2016, a total of 91 recalls were recorded. 18 were triggered by serious accidents. 73 triggered by non-serious accidents.

Recalls are an effective way to restore products, however many of these products remain in the market though, even when there is a recall. These products may still cause accidents. There were still 89 accidents in 2016 caused by products that were not recovered in a recall.

How to enhance effectiveness of recalls? Rise in use of IOT – traceability of products can be done at lower cost. There is no proof of the concept yet, but  some ideas such as the use of QR codes on products which allows information on the product to be provided at low-cost. Once subjected to recalls, consumers can know of this. If consumers are registered, they can be told of recalls. Recall information notice system, could also notify of inspections.

Award manufacturers for best practice in product safety. Product safety award system was developed in Japan 11 years ago. Product safety inspection is recommended to consumers in a particular month. Biggest event is then the awarding system. This week on Thursday at Shibuya there was an awarding ceremony.

This year’s award winners – YKK and Acuface Laboratory Inc. Several other companies received awards and presented their best practices to share their activities within the industries.


Mr. Wada discussed ideas for cooperation with foreign product safety authorities. Overseas production are not subject to regulation so METI  doesn’t have as much information about violation of the products.  METI needs cooperation of foreign regulators. Difficult to ask people selling illegal products through overseas sites into Japan. So they deal with this in a number of different ways:

• Bilateral Cooperation with CPSC and AQSIQ (Cooperative Agreements such as MOU and Guidelines)….
• Multilateral Cooperation e.g. OECD / ICPHSO
• Technical cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. Including new cooperation with Thailand.

A key take away from this keynote presentation was the invitation to cooperate and collaboration not only between global regulators but also between industries and organizations such as ICPHSO where industries can learn best practices.


Ann Marie Buerkle, Acting Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was the second keynote presenter on day 1 of the International Symposium.  The Acting Chairman again recognized ICPHSO as the gold standard for collaboration.


ICPHSO provides the perfect opportunity to discuss collective goal of product safety. The Acting Chairman pointed out while there is a change in leadership at CPSC, the mission remains the same. Laws and regulations don’t change – keep consumer safe from unreasonable risk and harm.

Buerkle stressed collaboration and engagement – reaching out to all stakeholders and taking advantage of their expertise. Reasonable thoughtful approach. Education is key – not just for consumers but for industry as well.

The CPSC follows guidelines and direction from Congress. CPSC priorities include the development of a strategic plan;  sharing data and information and following an operating plan which just came before CPSC.  The operating plan provides the public a roadmap on how CPSC navigates and spend resources. This information is available to all on the CPSC website.

Acting Chairman Buerkle discussed how to most effectively enact agenda: by identifying and addressing risks and emerging hazards; improving import surveillance to ensure what is done at ports can help prevent dangerous products from getting in to the market and how to enhance the agency’s ability to receive data.

The challenge is not only what’s in front of the CPSC by reviewing and looking at incidents through data, but also to be vigilant about emerging hazards. What else is on the horizon?  A current concern is the internet of things   CPSC has some 550 employees, $125 million budget, and has jurisdiction over 15,000 types of consumer products. It is not an easy task to look out on the horizon. Some of those emerging hazards include big data and e-commerce. IOT is quickly developing – it’s a double-edged sword. Products can get to consumer more quickly but also companies can let them know when there is a problem.

The Chairman also discussed what she identified as her priorities for CPSC.

One such  priority is  collaboration and engagement among all stakeholders (consumers, manufacturers and government)

Another priority is import surveillance. It’s better not to let unsafe products into the country then have to deal with them afterwards in a recall. Continue to use risk assessment methodology to look at products coming into the country to ensure compliance.

A challenge facing CPSC is e-commerce. What consumers now do is go onto third-party platforms or directly to manufacturers and order a product to their home. How to ensure that product is safe and compliant?

Through collaboration with third-party platforms and others,  CPSC wants to discuss how to be a part of the solution. These platforms and others could be an unwilling or unwitting party to unsafe products coming into the stream of commerce.

A further priority is collaboration and education. This needs to go to consumers and the regulated community. Can make expectations more clear this way as well as affecting safety in the long run.  Consumer education is also important – so often unaware of hazards. Calling consumer attention to hidden hazards is critical, such as the CPSC’s safe sleep campaign. Raising awareness is one key to reaching consumers.

Another very important part of what CPSC does is the voluntary standards process. Make sure, when possible, to pursue this rather than mandatory standard. On a practical level it makes a lot of sense. Think of this as a consensus standard, when all stakeholders are around the table and identify an issue and work together to identify how to address the safety issue. A consensus standard is real-time – it can be changed easily and quickly if it is not working.

CPSC is also working with the  international community to conduct workshops so that people understand what a product needs to comply with if it is to be brought into the United States.  We no longer live in a local economy, it is a global economy. Problems facing the United States are probably facing everyone in the International Symposium.

Another priority is data. CPSC has to be a data driven agency and needs increased resources from congress to increase capability to receive different types of data and do analysis of that data. Data helps to identify emerging hazards. Getting the agency modernized with data is a key component and priority. Data drives voluntary standards and other proactive actions. Despite the fact that so much of what the CPSC does has to do with injury and death, its important to remember, as an agency, we have to rely on data and science. That is how we do our best work. Look at data and identify where the emerging hazards are and address it with one of the tools we have to deal with the issue.

CPSC held a recall effectiveness workshop in August. Recall effectiveness is something that has been discussed but is an enigma. How do we measure recall effectiveness?  How do we get to the consumer? Its imperative to find ways to directly notify consumers (e.g. product registration or other means), through a best practices handbook for recalls. CPSC will continue to discuss this in order to get to some real solutions. Can recalls be tiered? Not all recalls are created equal. This is an ongoing discussion we will continue to have.

We all have a common interest in safety, we are all consumers, and we all have families, for whom we want safe products. That is the common goal. It is a great place to start. CPSC remains available to discuss solutions and issues with all stakeholders.



I will provide additional summaries on our International Symposium in the days ahead.  I appreciate the assistance of Board Member and Symposium Chair Rod Freeman and his team from the Cooley law firm (Alex Radcliffe, Carol Roberts, Sarah-Jane Dobson, Fergal Duggin and Mark Deem), who helped plan and implement our Symposium. The notes provided by the Cooley team are much appreciated as I report on the activities that took place during the Symposium.  Any observations included about the Symposium are my own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Cooley or ICPHSO.






3 Days to Tokyo!

ICPHSO’s first symposium in Tokyo is only three days away!  As I get ready to fly to our first International Symposium in Japan, I want to again thank our Symposium Planning Chairman, Rod Freeman and his team from Cooley, especially, Alex Radcliffe, Sara-Jane Dobson, Carol Roberts and Fergal Duggan and any others who I have missed, who have worked nearly around the clock it seems with the time differences between Washington, D.C., London and Tokyo, to make sure we will again have another successful Symposium.  Over 150 attendees are registered from 15 different countries, along with strong regulator participation and support from Japan,  South Korea, United States, Canada, the European Commission and the OECD.  This is truly an International Symposium and I look forward to the panels and speakers we have lined up to discuss safety in the product life cycle.

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The ICPHSO team including our Association Manager, Kimber Nation; Association Administrator, Tara Reddy; Sponsorship Manager, Heather Konya (who will be staying back at ICPHSO headquarters); President Rick Brenner;  President Elect and 2018 Symposium Planning Chair, Belinda May; Vice President Matt Howsare;  Past President Nancy Cowles; and Board Member Renee Chiang are already in Tokyo or will soon be joining me.  I appreciate the support they provide to me and ICPHSO everyday.  I am also looking forward to again seeing Ross Koeser, ICPHSO Founding Member and former Executive Director who is also attending the Symposium.

Registration for Tokyo will remain open and if you still want to join us there is still time to register both on-line or at the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba where the Symposium is being held.

Safe travels for those of you attending and for those who are unable to join us in Tokyo, remembers its never too early to start making reservations and registering for the 2018 Annual Meeting and Training Symposium in Orlando, Florida, February 20-23, 2018!  Our 25th Anniversary and Silver Jubilee Year.