The International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO), an international, neutral forum for product safety stakeholders to learn, network and share information, held its annual meeting and training symposium in Washington, D.C. last month. PPAI® Public Affairs Director Anne Stone—an ICHPHSO board member—and Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris, along with leaders from several industry companies, attended to learn and participate in discussions on an array of product responsibility issues.

“I’m so proud that suppliers and distributors from the promotional industry were well represented at the 2019 annual ICPHSO conference—the largest educational gathering in the world of product safety and compliance professionals,” says Rick Brenner, MAS+, president of RFBrenner LLC, past president of the ICPHSO board of directors and a former PPAI board chair. Brenner serves on PPAI’s Product Responsibility Action Group. “This year, ICPHSO presented more than 60 in-depth educational sessions over four full days on topics ranging from compliance basics to the risk from counterfeits to designing for senior safety. The latter topic—safety for seniors—is critically important as the Baby Boomer generation comes of age and life expectancy increases.” After serving as ICPHSO president in 2017 and six years on the board, this event also marked the end of Brenner’s term but noted the promotional products industry will still be well represented on the ICPHSO board with PPAI’s Anne Stone, Staples’s Tabatha Bauer and QCA’s Dee Fenton.

Held February 24-28, the symposium included tours of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) testing laboratory, the opportunity to hear speakers from several different industries and disciplines and a keynote presentation from CPSC Acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle.

“As always, the 2019 ICPHSO Symposium was a great opportunity for public and private health and safety professionals to come together,” says Tabatha Bauer, director of logistics and compliance, promotional products, Staples, and an ICPHSO board member. “All of us working together can solve the most difficult issues. And it was great to see more of my suppliers in attendance to keep apprised of the ever-changing regulations. This year, I especially enjoyed the sessions on diversity and inclusion and the risks of counterfeit products. These were new and unique discussions taking place at the symposium.”

Hit Promotional Products Compliance Manager Nathan Cotter, who also attended, says, “The annual ICPHSO conference offers a diverse range of sessions that allow those in the product safety and regulatory compliance field an opportunity to learn about emerging product safety issues, hear directly from regulators regarding policy and concerns they have and to interact with product safety professionals both within and outside of the promotional products industry. Some of the best discussions I had were learning what challenges peers operating in the retail space encounter on a daily basis and how their companies are structured to handle product safety-related issues.”

Attendee Chris Pearson, director of compliance at Spector & Co., adds, “There truly is no other event like ICPHSO. It was well laid out and the speakers and topics were on point. It is great to be in a room with your peers, both from the consumer product compliance and promotional products sides. Since promo spans the world, the session from global regulators was very appealing to me and Prop 65 is always a hot topic, so I was glad to get an update from the experts. One session I found very beneficial and would like the video from was ‘Compliance Officer: Company Super Hero or Company Super Villain.’ This is a must-show to corporate management. It highlights the struggles and perception issues of compliance officers in most companies.”