The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Florida. Despite the economy, many business people continue to manufacture and sell consume products and start their own businesses. Unfortunately, in tough times especially, reducing product liability risks is essential to avoid lawsuits related to personal injuries suffered by customers. Here’s how:
1) Keep excellent records of how you ensure product safety. Policy statements, quality control manuals, safety audits, manuals, and other documentation is essential. Write out everything you are doing to keep your business, products, and customers safe and distribute this information to employees and customers. This shows a commitment to safety.
2) Maintain control of any production processes. If your product does cause personal injury, you want to be able to quickly trace the product. Make sure that you know how parts of your product get to you, supply each product with serial numbers or dates and keep track of where you sell. If you contract out part of the manufacturing process, create air-tight agreements with contractors and sub-contractors. If you don’t manufacture but rather sell products, keep excellent records of where and when you receive each item.
3) Follow up on complaints. Customer complaints can become lawsuits if they are ignored. Develop a formal process of storing and investigating customer complaints. Keep records of each complaint and how it was resolved.
4) Run tests. Test your product more than the minimum required by law and keep records of all testing.
5) Know what to do when things go wrong. Have a formal recall procedure that everyone in your company understands. Keep written records of it and make sure that it complies with state laws. If you do need to recall a product, you want to ensure that your recall is swift and thorough, and a solid plan is the best way to ensure that.
6) Review your packaging, product labels, and manuals with a product safety specialist and a qualified attorney. These professionals can tell you whether your information is too vague, not comprehensive enough, or, worse yet, misleading in any way so that you can fix it before a consumer is injured.