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Product safety risk assessment

DNV GL provides product safety risk assessment services for consumer products

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John Spouge John Spouge
Senior Principal Consultant
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Product safety risk assessment is a tool that DNV GL uses to help ensure the safety of consumer products. Manufacturers, distributors, lawyers and consumer groups rely on DNV GL for trustworthy and impartial risk management advice. 

Consumer products are in everyone’s workplace, home and pocket. They make an immense contribution to our quality of life, but very occasionally they suffer major faults or cause accidents. Product safety risk assessment helps the manufacturer and distributor decide how best to manage these risks.

DNV GL’s product safety assessment services cover applications such as:

  • Fires in domestic electrical appliances
  • Harmful effects from industrial equipment
  • Accidents in transport and access
  • Fires in batteries in transit.

Before a product is sold to consumers, the manufacturer should consider the potential for harm, and ensure that the design minimises the risks. This requires a proactive risk assessment, looking forward based on similar products, theoretical analyses or expert judgement. If the risk cannot be prevented by design, the manufacturer may need to decide what level of risk is acceptable. Once the product is in service, incident data may become available to support or revise the risk assessment.

If a potentially harmful incident occurs while the product is in service, the manufacturer or distributor need to reconsider the risks. They may decide to withdraw the products from sale and recall faulty items from consumers, to prevent any further harm from occurring. Recalls are expensive, and may be unsuccessful if the faulty products are not easily identified. Promotion of recalls may also damage the manufacturer’s reputation. However, the damage may be much greater if no action is taken and then further accidents occur. The decision must be made quickly, perhaps based on incomplete information. A risk assessment at this point uses available data, taking account of uncertainties, and must err on the side of caution, following the precautionary principle.

Risk assessment may also be relevant if a dispute arises. Individuals harmed by product accidents may argue that the design process or a slow recall was negligent. Insurers may argue that premature recall was disproportionate. Product safety risk assessment provides a way of evaluating or reconciling these views. 

DNV GL’s product safety risk assessment draws on our expertise in risk assessment in diverse industries. We advise on accident risks, human behavior and safety management in the oil & gas, petrochemical and energy industries, and in maritime, rail and aviation transport. 

What you get
  • Expertise in risk assessment in diverse industries
  • Qualitative or quantitative assessment as appropriate to the product in question
  • Independence
  • Expert witness capability.