Consumer Safety Act 1978

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1978 c. 38


Consumer Safety Act 1978

1978 CHAPTER 38

An Act to make further provision with respect to the safety of consumers and others.

[20th July 1978]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

S-1 Safety regulations in respect of goods.

1 Safety regulations in respect of goods.

(1) The Secretary of State may make regulations containing such provision authorised by subsections (2) and (3) of this section as the Secretary of State considers appropriate for the purpose of securing that goods are safe or that appropriate information is provided and inappropriate information is not provided in respect of goods; and regulations in pursuance of this subsection are hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘safety regulations’.

(2) Safety regulations may contain provision—

(a ) with respect to the composition or contents, design, construction, finish or packing of goods or with respect to other matters relating to goods;

(b ) for requiring goods to conform to a particular standard or to be approved or of a kind approved by a particular person and for requiring information to be given, and determining the manner in which it is to be given, for the purpose of indicating that the goods conform to that standard or are so approved or of such a kind;

(c ) with respect to standards for goods (which may be standards set out in the regulations or standards or parts of standards of which particulars have been published by any person in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) and with respect to the approval by the Secretary of State from time to time, for any purpose of the regulations, of standards or parts of standards of which particulars have been so published;

(d ) with respect to the giving, refusal, alteration and cancellation of approvals for goods or kinds of goods, with respect to the conditions and alteration of the conditions which may be attached to and the fees which may be charged for such approvals and with respect to appeals against refusals, alterations and cancellations of such approvals and against the conditions and alteration of conditions of such approvals;

(e ) with respect to the testing or inspection of goods, for determining the manner in which and person by whom any test or inspection required by the regulations is to be carried out and for determining the standards to be applied in carrying out such a test or inspection;

(f ) with respect to the ways of dealing with goods of which some or all do not satisfy a test prescribed by the regulations or a standard connected with a procedure so prescribed;

(g ) for requiring a warning or instructions or other information relating to goods to be marked on or to accompany the goods or to be given in some other manner in connection with the goods, and for securing that inappropriate information is not given in respect of goods either by means of misleading marks or otherwise;

(h ) for prohibiting persons from supplying, or from offering to supply, agreeing to supply, exposing for supply or possessing for supply, goods which the Secretary of State considers are not safe and goods in respect of which requirements of the regulations are not satisfied;

(i ) for prohibiting persons from supplying, or from offering to supply, agreeing to supply, exposing for supply or possessing for supply, goods which are designed to be used as component parts of other goods and which would if so used cause the other goods to contravene requirements of the regulations.

(3) Safety regulations may—

(a ) make different provision for different circumstances or provision relating only to specified circumstances;

(b ) provide for exemptions from any provision of the regulations;

(c ) contain such incidental and supplemental provisions as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(4) Where the Secretary of State proposes to make safety regulations it shall be his duty before he makes them to consult such organisations as appear to him to be representative of interests substantially affected by the proposal and such other persons as he considers appropriate and, in the case of proposed regulations relating to goods suitable for use at work, to consult the Health and Safety Commission.

S-2 Offences against the safety regulations.

2 Offences against the safety regulations.

(1) Where safety regulations prohibit a person from supplying or offering or agreeing to supply goods or from exposing or possessing goods for supply, then, subject to the following provisions of this section, the person shall be guilty of an offence if he contravenes the prohibition.

(2) Where safety regulations require a person who makes or processes goods in the course of carrying on a business—

(a ) to carry out a particular test or use a particular procedure in connection with the making or processing of the goods with a view to ascertaining whether the goods satisfy other requirements of the regulations; or

(b ) to deal or not to deal in a particular way with a quantity of the goods of which the whole or part does not satisfy the test or does not satisfy standards connected with the procedure,

then, subject to the following provisions of this section, the person shall be guilty of an offence if he does not comply with the requirement.

(3) If a person contravenes a provision of safety regulations which prohibits the provision, by means of a mark or otherwise, of information of a particular kind in connection with goods, then, subject to the following provisions of this section, he shall be guilty of an offence.

(4) A person who commits an offence in pursuance of the preceding provisions of this section (hereafter in this section referred to as ‘a relevant offence’) shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months and a fine of an amount not exceeding 1,000.

(5) Where the commission of a relevant offence by any person is due to the act or default of some other person, the other person shall be guilty of the offence and may be charged with and convicted of it whether or not proceedings are taken against the first-mentioned person.

(6) It shall be a defence to a charge of committing a relevant offence to prove that the accused took all reasonable steps and exercised all due diligence to avoid committing the offence; but if in any case the defence provided by this subsection involves an allegation that the commission of the offence was due to the act or default of another person or due to reliance on information supplied by another person, the person charged shall not, without the leave of the court, be entitled to rely on the defence unless, within a period ending seven clear days before the hearing, he has served on the prosecutor a notice giving such information identifying or assisting in the identification of the other person as was then in his possession.

(7) Safety regulations may contain provision—

(a ) for requiring persons on whom a duty is imposed by virtue of section 5 of this Act to have regard, in performing the duty so far as it relates to a provision of safety regulations, to matters specified in a direction issued by the Secretary of State with respect to that provision;

(b ) for securing that a person shall not be guilty of an offence by virtue of subsection (1) of this section unless it is proved that the goods in question do not conform to a particular standard;

(c ) for securing that proceedings for a relevant offence are not begun in England or Wales except by or with the consent of the Secretary of State or the Director of Public Prosecutions;

(d ) except in relation to Scotland, for enabling a magistrates' court to try an information in respect of a relevant offence if the information was laid within twelve months from the time when the offence was committed and, in relation to Scotland, for enabling summary proceedings for a relevant offence to be begun at any time within twelve months from the time when the offence was committed;

and it is hereby declared that subsection (3) of the preceding section applies to safety regulations made by virtue of this subsection.

(8) Safety regulations shall not provide for a contravention of the regulations to be an offence.

S-3 Orders and notices to prohibit supply of goods or give warning of danger from goods.

3 Orders and notices to prohibit supply of goods or give warning of danger from goods.

(1) The Secretary of State may—

(a ) make orders (hereafter in this Act referred to as ‘prohibition orders’) prohibiting persons from supplying, or from offering to supply, agreeing to supply, exposing for supply or possessing for supply—

(i) any goods which the Secretary of State considers are not safe and which are described in the orders, and

(ii) any goods which are designed to be used as component parts of other goods and which would if so used cause the other goods to be goods described in the orders in pursuance of sub-paragraph (i) above;

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