Selling safe products

Consumers have the right to expect that goods they buy are safe. As a business, all goods you supply or sell must be free from defects that could harm consumers. The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) requires safety standards to be met before certain goods are sold. These standards include:

  • the way the good is made
  • what it contains
  • how it works
  • what tests it needs to pass, or
  • whether any warnings or instructions need to accompany the good.

Selling products that breach mandatory safety or information standards or which have been temporarily or permanently banned is illegal. Individual suppliers who breach the ACL can be fined up to $220,000. Corporations can be fined up to $1.1 million. Gas and electrical products must also comply with additional laws to ensure these products are safe to use.

Important: Businesses should not assume that imported products have been checked for compliance with Australia's product safety laws, even if they have been cleared by Customs.

Download the consumer product safety - a guide for businesses and legal practitioners or the product safety guide for business (in three languages) for more information.

Check before you supply

Don’t risk supplying or selling unsafe products and product-related services. This includes everyone in the supply chain. Do your research and ask:

Are there any bans, mandatory safety standards or information standards for the products I am supplying or selling?

For a list of products that are banned and regulated by law, download the mandatory standards and bans fact sheet from and search for newer product types at the Product Safety Australia website.

Have I checked the national recalls website?

For all current product recalls and information visit the recalls section of the Product Safety Australia website. You can also subscribe to receive email updates for the goods you sell.

Have I contacted the peak industry body or association?

These organisations may provide useful product safety information for your industry. Find your industry association by searching the Directory of government and business associations.

Should my business consider liability insurance?

Liability insurance provides cover against claims where the goods you have sold or supplied have caused injury, death or damage. Visit the liability insurance page on the Business website for more information.

Are my business records accurate and can I identify individual products in my invoices?

Your invoices may help provide details of the supplier if a product you have sold does not comply with a mandatory standard or ban.

Can the supplier provide a certificate showing the product has been tested to meet Australian mandatory or voluntary safety standards?

Mandatory safety standards for general consumer products are listed on the Product Safety Australia website. Voluntary Australian standards are listed on the Standards Australia website and are available to purchase form SAI Global. You can ask your supplier if they can supply a test report confirming a product you are buying to on-sell meets applicable Australian standards for the type of product.

Have I got a copy of a current approval certificate for the gas appliance or declared electrical article from my supplier?

The approval certificate is important because it shows the product meets the current mandatory standard and is approved for sale.

Mandatory reporting

If you become aware that a good or product-related service you have supplied or sold has caused, or may have caused death or serious injury or illness to any person, you must report it to the Commonwealth Minister within two days. Visit the mandatory injury report page on the Product Safety Australia website for the online Mandatory Reporting Form and the Mandatory Reporting Guidelines.

Product recalls

Products are recalled if they are found to be unsafe or likely to cause injury through reasonably foreseeable use or misuse.  Many suppliers voluntarily initiate their own recalls after becoming aware that one or more of their products presents a safety risk. Voluntary product recalls may also be negotiated by NSW Fair Trading or other regulators. Under Australian Consumer Law (ACL), suppliers are required to notify the Commonwealth Minister responsible for competition and consumer policy within two days of initiating a voluntary recall action. Notifications about voluntary recalls can be submitted online via the Product Safety Australia website, where suppliers can also get guidance about how to conduct a recall. Under some circumstances, the NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation can issue a compulsory recall notice to NSW consumers and suppliers, and the Commonwealth Minister responsible for competition and consumer policy can do the same Australia-wide. For a list of recalls across Australia, and for information about conducting a recall, go to the Recalls section of the Product Safety Australia website.

Electrical appliances

Electrical appliances must be designed and manufactured so they will not cause electric shock, injury, death or fire damage during normal use, and must comply with mandatory safety standards. Fair Trading administers compulsory pre-sale certification for specific types of electrical appliances, and voluntary certification for all other electrical products.

Gas appliances

All portable gas appliances and appliances connected to bottle gas must be certified to comply with mandatory safety standards. It’s illegal to sell uncertified gas appliances and to connect uncertified gas appliances to a gas network. Go to the product safety business page or call the Fair Trading Energy and Utilities Unit on 9895 0722 for more information.

Reporting unsafe products

If you become aware of an unsafe situation or item, whether or not anyone has been injured, you should alert the supplier about the issue. You can also report it by lodging a complaint on our website or via the Product Safety Australia website.

Annual product safety inspection results

Every year before christmas we check the marketplace for toys and other products that could be dangerous. View the list and photos of dangerous Christmas toys, novelties, and other products that were recently removed from store shelves:

You can also view the list and photos of unapproved or unsafe electrical products for 2012 (PDF, 211.71 KB).

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