During the last few weeks I have been doing many hours of research (and many telephone calls) into Australian Standards, how they apply to a business like Your Cheeky Monkey, and verifying that I do indeed meet those standards. I thought I would share with you my findings, not only for those other small Australian businesses that read my blog, but also from a consumers point of view.
The search for information has been rather frustrating. As a business owner or product manufacturer you are expected to meet Australian Standards, and your Business Insurance Policy will have a clause stating products are to meet Australian Standards. But finding out whether your product does meet those standards is not all that simple. Fair enough, you could ask a solicitor to look into it for you but not too many small businesses could afford that sort of expense.
So, I'm going to be nice and get to the crunch straight up. THE most important document in regards to Australian Standards is the Mandatory Standards List. This list completely covers an up to date list of all MANDATORY requirements your product has to meet in Australia. If you make a product that falls under this list, you need to read it carefully to make sure your product does not need to be professionally tested and approved. If you make a product that is NOT on this list, it does not need to be tested. For example, one of my bunny rugs meets Australian Standards because it has a care label attached and it does not have any other design features such as a button or pom pom attached.
The Product Safety Australia website is also a great source of information to explore. Or you can call the ACCC Infocentre on 1300 302 502.
There are many other departments and bodies you can also approach for information. The Product Safety Unit (a department of Fair Trading) was the best source of information I found. If you have any questions I recommend calling them. Fair Trading also has a small amount of information (I found they mostly dealt with products like prams and cots). There is also the 'Infant & Nursery Products Association of Australia', however they have not responded to my queries.
I also talked to Standards Australia for information about meeting Australian Standards. Standards Australia also were not much help, they only have standards in their organization in regards to prams, cots, dummies, etc.
Do you operate a business that only on-sells products? Do you think you are not liable for the products you sell because you do not make them? Well think again, it us up to you as the retailer to make sure the products you are sourcing meet Australian Standards. You need to ask your supplier if they do, because you can be held liable as well as the manufacturer or wholesaler.
These standards are in place for the safety of ourselves & our children. If you run a retail, wholesale, or manufacturing business I recommend you check you are meeting Australian Standards, and if you are a consumer you need to be aware not all products you may buy are meeting those mandatory standards.