Lifespan of electrical products the key focus at Electrical Product Safety Conference

In a fast-paced world where regulation and standards struggle to keep up with innovation and new technology, it has never been more important to scrutinise the journey of an electrical product through each stage of its lifecycle.

The UK must work hard to catch up with its European counterparts to deliver new legislation on the sustainability of products. Progress is needed on changes to the regulatory framework, as many new supply chains, innovations and technology are not appropriately covered by existing – and in many cases, outdated – legislation.

As the concept of a circular economy, and sustainability more broadly, continue to gain traction to achieve net zero emissions targets, debate is growing around the lifespan of products, especially whether they should be reused, recycled, or repurposed – and, if so, how.

Now in its 15th year, our Electrical Product Safety Conference, sponsored this year by Connected Innovations, explores the latest critical issues and solutions – from product conception, through manufacture and production, to sale, after care, and finally end of life. Although we live in a disposable society, predicted lifespan remains a hot topic that divides the electrical product industry. Despite obvious benefits to a longer lifecycle, this must be balanced with added risks it brings in repair and maintenance, as well as lost opportunities to benefit from new technology – especially energy efficiencies – and safety innovations.

Tackling emerging issues

The conference covers major themes and trends impacting consumer safety and the electrical product industry, and offers invaluable insights for industry leaders, safety minded professionals, and organisations.

Through a mix of informative presentations and panel sessions, we like to take a wide lens approach so you can hear about the most important emerging issues, but also get into the real-life detail with experts about exactly how these issues affect industry and consumers.

Likely to be hotly-debated – and certainly close to our hearts here at Electrical Safety First – are topics on the need for better regulation of online marketplaces, which we have long been campaigning for, and the safety of chargeable products kept in the home. We have just issued a major new report on the risks associated with e-bikes and e-scooters – many of these risks apply to cordless domestic appliances.

The areas of due diligence, risk assessments, testing, and product recalls will also be put under the spotlight with discussions on guidance, such as PAS 7050, PAS 7100, and the PRISM (product safety risk assessment methodology) approach favoured by the UK Government versus the RAPEX (rapid exchange of information system) adopted by the European Union (EU).

Other important topics on our radar include the controversies over the development of e-labelling, new cyber security regulation, and post-fire product identification to help identify patterns and trends of faulty appliances.

Showcasing award-winning innovation

I am also delighted that the conference features the announcement and presentation of our prestigious and coveted Safety Innovation Award, sponsored by ProductIP, which recognises and rewards innovators, designers and creators delivering forward-thinking approaches to product design and safety. Conference delegates will get the chance to see the winner present their idea on stage.

Hosted this year by Katie Prescott, Technology Business Editor at The Times and one of the UK’s best-known business journalists, our annual conference is the first event I put in my diary each year and one I look forward to eagerly.

You will find fascinating speakers from industry-leading bodies and companies and government representatives from the OPSS (Office of Product Safety and Standards) and departments such as transport, environment and DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport).

It is an excellent opportunity to network with industry professionals, decision-makers and business leaders dedicated to sharing best practice and improving the future for all those involved in the electrical product sector, and of course for the users of electrical products.

Hosted by Electrical Safety First and supported by Connected Innovations, Eurosafe, OPSS and ProductIP, the Electrical Product Safety Conference 2023 is at Church House, London on 16 November.