With product safety rising up the news agenda – and particularly in the light of recent tragedies – Electrical Safety First’s 7th annual product safety conference, Improving Product Safety in an Ever-Changing Worldhas cemented its role as an essential event in the industry year.

Attended by almost 200 delegates, the conference focused on how current innovation and on-going legislative change is impacting on product safety. The context was set from the very beginning of the event, with a keynote speech by Margot James, the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, who commissioned the Working Group Report on Product Recalls and Safety.

But a highlight of the conference was the launch of Electrical Safety First’s inaugural Innovation Award, which was won by Verv, a Green Running brand. Their ‘energy assistant’ notifies people if an appliance has been left on, predicts faults before the item fails and could (in the longer term) help improve the recall process.

“We wanted to encourage companies who are putting safety at the heart of their product development process”, explains Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First.  “We believe that, just as our annual product safety conference has grown year-on-year, so will the impact of this award – and that both show that product safety is no longer a Cinderella issue. So it is particularly fitting that we decided to launch the Innovation Award at the conference, where this year’s theme focused on how the breadth and depth of changes, both regulatory and technological, are transforming systems of production, management and governance. We warmly congratulate Green Running on being the first-ever winners of our new award.”

Peter Davies, CEO and Founder of Verv, expressed the company’s delight at their win.  “We’re thrilled to have received the Safety Innovation award at this year’s Electrical Safety First conference. Safety features, made possible by our AI and machine learning technology, form a key part of our smart home product and we’re really looking forward to developing these further, helping consumers to protect their homes – and also expanding into areas such as product recall where we can look to improve current processes.”

Chaired by Anne Ferguson, the Chair of Electrical Safety First’s Board of Trustees, the event also covered a range of key issues facing the industry today. These ranged from the problems arising in a complex supply chain and maintaining safety throughout the product life-cycle, to risk mitigation for lithium batteries and the pros and cons of Brexit.  There was also an overview and update on the forthcoming Publically Available Specification (PAS) 7100- the code of practice on consumer product safety related recalls and other corrective actions, due to be published in February 2018.

“Feedback suggests delegates found this the best conference yet”, adds Phil Buckle. “And we are delighted that the conference is attracting senior delegates across the entire supply chain, as well as government departments, NGOs and consumer protection bodies.  Our ‘broad church’ appeal is as it should be, as it reflects the intricacy of the global market place and is key to the success of the event.”