Dangerous Prime-Line Children’s Products

Prime-Line Products of Redland, California is the subject of two recent voluntary recalls involving child-related products.
One recall involves bathtub non-slip pads.  Some of the pads do not stick to the bathtub surface, thus creating a fall hazard.  According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, “[t]he recalled items are whale-shaped, white, vinyl, non-slip bathtub pads with textured surfaces and adhesive backings and are used to help prevent children from slipping and falling in bathtubs. The pads come in sets of 12 and 15. Each set contains pads that range in size from 2 to 4 inches tall. The model number is S-4630 and SKU number is 049793846303.”  This product was sold at Ace Hardware and Menard’s between May 24, 2010 and June 13, 2011.

The other recall concerns child safety latches and outlet covers.  The CPSC states that “[t]he screws on the safety latches and outlet covers can loosen and/or break. When this happens, young children can gain access to electrical outlets and other potentially hazardous items.”  This recall involves Prime-Line child safety drawer and cabinet latches and outlet covers with rotating receptacle covers. These products were sold under the brand name Child Safe.

The drawer and cabinet latches were sold three per package, in model number S 4439 with SKU 049793044396, and model number S 4444 with SKU 049793044440.  The outlet covers were sold one per package, in ivory, model number S 4447 with SKU 049793044471, and white, model number S 4461 with SKU 049793044617.  The model number and SKU are printed on the back of the package.

Drawer and cabinet latches were sold at Ace Hardware, Bostwic-Braun, Cal-Do-It Centers, Do-It-Best, Friedman Brothers, Menards, Orgill, The Andersons Inc., and True Value stores nationwide between October 2010 and June 2011. Outlet covers were sold at Ace Hardware, Cimarron Lumber & Supply, Do-It-Best, Friedman Brothers, Handy Hardware, Menards, and W.E. Aubuchon stores nationwide between October 2009 and June 2011.

Sources:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11285.html; http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11284.html

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter involving children’s products that you would like to discuss.  I’ll be happy to see if I can give you a hand.

 

 

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New Federal Rules For Testing Of Children’s Toys

Toy safety continues to be a major emphasis for the federal government:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted 5-0 on July 20 to approve new third party testing requirements, through a notice of requirements, to ensure the safety of children’s toys. While the toy industry has had to comply with mandatory toy safety requirements for more than two years, the Commission voted to give manufacturers, importers and private labelers additional time to put a third party testing program into place.

CPSC has approved a stay of enforcement on the requirement for third party testing and certification of children’s toys until December 31, 2011. The Commission will enforce third party testing and certification of compliance based on the testing for toys manufactured or imported after that date.

In the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), Congress required that the existing voluntary standard become a mandatory standard and directed CPSC to require testing to that standard. In May 2009, the Commission adopted the updated voluntary ASTM standard known as F 963-08 as the mandatory safety standard for toys and ASTM F 963-07ε1 as the mandatory safety standard for toy chests.

Safeguards in the mandatory toy standard strive to eliminate electrical, thermal and mechanical hazards, including cuts from broken wires, strangulations from long cords, burns from heating elements, shocks from electrical circuits and suffocations from hemispherical-shaped objects.

Source:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11282.html

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter involving children’s products that you would like to discuss.  I’ll be happy to see if I can give you a hand.

Judge Orders Henry’s Turkey Service To Pay 1.7 Million In Wage Case

From the July 21, 2011 Des Moines Register:

Thirty-one of the disabled Atalissa men who worked for Henry’s Turkey Service in its final years have been awarded a total of $1.7 million.

In response to a federal civil lawsuit alleging multiple violations of federal wage-and-hour laws, U.S. District Court Judge Harold D. Vietor on Wednesday awarded the mentally retarded employees of Henry’s a total of $1,761,554. The judgment represents $880,777 in unpaid wages, plus damages in that same amount.

The judgment was rendered without a trial. The U.S. Department of Labor had successfully argued earlier this year that there were no substantive issues to be decided at a trial because the company had admitted to many of the practices that led to the lawsuit.

For example, Henry’s acknowledged that it paid the disabled workers no more than $65 per month, regardless of the hours they worked. That amount was established as the monthly rate of pay because anything over $65 would have resulted in the workers losing some of the disability income that Henry’s claimed in return for room and board.
Henry’s Turkey Service is a Texas labor broker that for four decades placed mentally retarded men in a West Liberty processing plant, where they spent 40 hours per week gutting turkeys for $65 per month. Henry’s also collected the men’s Social Security disability payments and used some of that money to offset the cost of room and board in a 100-year-old Atalissa bunkhouse.
Iowa Labor Commissioner Dave Neil, the U.S. Department of Labor and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took action against the company for alleged wage violations and mistreatment of the workers.

Source:  http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20110721/NEWS/107210324/-1-7-million-judgment-issued-in-Atalissa-workers-case

 

Erbe Law Firm can assist with any employment law or labor law questions that you might have.  Please feel free to contact Erbe Law Firm for a free initial consultation with an employment law or labor law attorney.

When Is Police Force Excessive?

Answering the question of whether “police brutality” has occurred is a two-step process.  The first issue is whether the use of force was even justified.  The second is whether an unreasonable or excessive amount of force was used.

Most law enforcement agencies have a “use of force” policy.  That policy will describe when and what type of force may be used.  “Force” can include anything from verbal commands to firearms (potentially “deadly force” depending on where the firearm is aimed).  Other examples of force are minor physical contact (pushing and control maneuvers, like arm bars), more serious physical contact (actual strikes with hands or feet), pepper spray, batons, and tasers.

The United States Supreme Court evaluates law enforcement use of force under a reasonableness standard.  Whether or not force was justified or excessive is determined by considering whether the officers’ actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them, without regard to the officer’s underlying intent or motivation.  Thus, a law enforcement officer must reasonably believe that force is necessary and must also use only the level of force that the officer reasonably believes is required.  The officer’s actions are viewed from the standpoint of what a reasonable person would have thought, not what the officer actually, subjectively believed.

The “objective reasonableness” standard means that the officer’s decisions regarding the use of force and the amount of force must match the situation.  The greater the force used, the greater the officer’s justifications need to be.  It is easier to justify using an arm bar to bring an arrestee to the ground than it is to justify the use of deadly force, which for obvious reasons is justified in only the most extreme situations where the officer is confronted with the possibility of serious injury or death to the officer or a citizen.

Please feel free to contact me if you or a family member have suffered personal injuries or a wrongful death because of police brutality.

New Rules For Lead In Children’s Products

New information from the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission on upcoming changes to federal rules regarding lead content in children’s products:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted (3-2) that there was insufficient evidence to make a determination that manufacturers of children’s products sold in the United States could not meet a total lead content limit of 100 parts per million (ppm) for a product or product category. The new total lead content limit, which is called for in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), goes into effect on August 14, 2011 for manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors of children’s products.

Through the CPSIA, Congress set tough new levels for lead content in products designed or primarily intended for children 12 and younger. Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic for children, and associated with lowered levels of learning, impaired hearing, brain damage and, at high levels, can be fatal.

Congress directed CPSC to phase in the reduced levels for lead content over a three year period, starting with 600 ppm on February 10, 2009. The level dropped to 300 ppm on August 14, 2009. Finally, Congress directed the total lead content limit be set at 100 ppm, unless the Commission determined it was not technologically feasible for a product or product category.

The Commission was not able to determine that 100 ppm total lead content is not technologically feasible, as staff found that materials containing less than 100 ppm total lead content are commercially available in the marketplace for manufacturers. CPSC staff also found many products currently on the market, that have been tested by CPSC or other organizations, that are already in compliance with the new 100 ppm total lead content limit.

Starting on August 14, 2011, manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors of children’s products must comply with the new 100 ppm federal limit for total lead content. CPSC will not enforce the CPSIA’s independent third party testing requirement for total lead content until December 31, 2011, due to a stay of enforcement that is already in place.

The stay of enforcement does not apply to children’s metal jewelry, which currently must undergo independent third party testing.

The new 100 ppm lead content limit does not apply to inaccessible (internal) parts of children’s products and certain component parts of children’s electronic devices, like electronic connectors and plugs, including headphone plugs.

Lead content levels for children’s products are different from the levels Congress set for lead in paint or surface coatings. The limit for lead in paint or surface coatings is .009 percent. The .009 percent level has been in place since August 14, 2009 and independent third party testing is required for all paints or surfaces coatings used on children’s products.

Source:  United States Consumer Products Safety Commission

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml11/11278.html

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter involving children’sproduct s that you would like to discuss.  I’ll be happy to see if I can give you a hand.

CPSC Penalizes Macy’s For Children’s Clothes Violations

Follow-up information on problems concerning drawstrings on children’s clothes:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Macy’s Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $750,000. The penalty agreement (pdf) has been provisionally accepted by the Commission.

The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that Macy’s knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, that it had sold children’s sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets with drawstrings at the neck between 2006 and 2010. Children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings, including sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets, poses a strangulation hazard to children that can result in serious injury or death.

The sweatshirts, sweaters and jackets that are the subject of the penalty agreement were sold by Macy’s and Macy’s-owned stores, including Bloomingdale’s, and Robinsons-May. CPSC staff alleges that Macy’s knowingly sold some garments after a recall had been negotiated, which the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 made illegal.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.

In 1996, CPSC issued drawstring guidelines to help prevent children from strangling on or getting entangled in the neck and waist drawstrings of upper outerwear, such as jackets and sweatshirts. In 2006, CPSC’s Office of Compliance announced that children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or neck would be regarded as defective and presented a substantial risk of injury to young children.

Beginning in 2006, CPSC and the garments’ manufacturers and distributors announced recalls of the following children’s garments with drawstrings that were sold at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Robinsons-May:

In agreeing to the settlement, Macy’s denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter involving drawstrings on children’s clothes that you would like to discuss.  I’ll be happy to see if I can give you a hand.

Safety During Yard Work

A few helpful tips from the federal government about safety precautions that should be observed while doing yard work:

Each year, about 75 people are killed and about 20,000 are injured on or near riding lawnmowers and garden tractors. One out of every five deaths involves a child. CPSC estimates that most of the deaths to children occurred when a child was in the path of a moving mower.

“No parent wants their child to be one of these statistics,” said CPSC Chairman Ann Brown. “Young children move quickly and are attracted to mowing activity, but they don’t understand the dangers it poses. Parents should keep young children away from any outdoor power equipment.”

The CPSC safety standard for walk-behind mowers has substantially reduced the number of mower injuries. In addition, CPSC has worked with industry on a standard for riding mowers to stop the blade if the rider gets off or falls off the seat.

CPSC advises consumers to learn about the hazards of each piece of equipment, and take the following precautions to prevent injuries to children and themselves from lawn and garden equipment:

 

  • Children should never be in the yard while you’re mowing, and they should never ride on the mower. More than 800 young children get run over or backed over by riding mowers each year. This happens when children fall while being given rides, or when they approach the operating mower.
  • Never assume children will remain where you last saw them. Be alert and turn off the mower if children enter the mowing area. Use extra care when backing up or going around corners, shrubs, trees or other obstacles.
  • Many children suffer serious burns to their hands and arms when they touch the hot muffler of running or recently running engines. Keep children away from power equipment.
  • Be sure you know how to operate the equipment. Know where the controls are and what they do. Make sure the equipment is in proper operating condition and guards or other safety devices have not been removed or disabled.
  • Dress appropriately for the job. This includes: sturdy shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes, eye protection, heavy gloves, hearing protection when needed, and no jewelry, which can get caught in moving parts.
  • Before mowing, walk around the area in which you will be working to remove any objects like sticks, glass, metal, wire, stones and string that could cause injury or damage equipment. Nails and wire are the most hazardous objects thrown by mowers, capable of killing bystanders.
  • Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). GFCIs come in several models, including portable plug-in types and as part of some extension cords.
  • Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.
  • Before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts, unplug electric tools and disconnect spark plug wires on gasoline-powered tools.
  • Be sure that power tools are turned off and made inoperable if they must be left unattended. This will help prevent use by children.
  • Handle gasoline carefully. Remember never to fill gas tanks while machinery is operating or when equipment is still hot. Do not fuel equipment indoors. Wipe up spills. Store gas in an approved container away from the house. Finally, never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline.

Source:  http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml99/99102.html

Please feel free to contact me if you have a personal injury or wrongful death or products liability matter involving injuries to you or a family member during yard work that you would like to discuss.  I’ll be happy to see if I can give you a hand.