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  • Wholesaler and safety assessment

    Hi everyone,

    I've found a wholesale supplier of some very nice soaps, but I can't get a clear answer regards certification. The soapmaker says she has safety data sheets for all the ingredients used. She says she has the all clear from Trading Standards about labellng. She also has public liablility insurance to meet requirements of craft markets where she sells her bath bombs and soaps.

    Unless I ask to see the safety assessment certificates for each soap I intend to order, I can't be certain that the products have been certified by a cosmetic chemist. If I go ahead with an order for ressale, would I be liable should a customer have an allergic reaction and decide to sue? Or would the wholesaler be liable? Or would we both be liable? If it turns out that the products have not been certified, but the supplier has public liability insurance, would this be adequate to cover the consequences of an allergic reaction to an uncertified soap?

    Forgive my ignorance as I'm new to all this. I've been told by another soap maker that is possible to get the insurance without having to certify the soaps. I'm confused!
    I don't understand how come it's possible for soap makers to obtain public liability insurance for soaps and cosmetics which have not been certified by a cosmetic chemist.

    Can someone please clarify the rules and regs?

  • #2
    I think, if you read the words (I think I was on the dot gov site - I was looking up the law on toy and cosmetic safety) it says if the customer has a problem the they go back to the seller who must have the maker's address so they can go back to them to sue or whatever. If the seller doesn't have the maker's address (I import) they assume the responsibilty for what's gone wrong.

    I was told by my insurers I would not be covered if I (the seller) could not show a copy of the safety certificate (for soap and cream) if a customer made a claim.

    So, an ultra cautious, responsible seller would insist on not just seeing, but possessing, a copy of the safety certification for any soaps (or cosmetics) they sell on....with the makers name and address on it.

    If your soap maker is selling soap without having it certified safe, has she really got insurance? If she has insurance has she told the insurers what she's selling? (It's very easy for an honest person to have taken out their insurance ages ago, renewing automatically every year and forget they have added to what they were originally selling.)

    Put your foot down. Insist on seeing her certificates......otherwise, don't touch her with a bargepole.

    Comment


    • #3
      Forgive me for coming in to this as a non soap person, but as a former law teacher i can ssay that your prospective wholesaler either has the certification or she doesn't. You can't be a little bit certified.
      It would seem to me to be pretty easy these days to have copies of the certs held electronically and email them out as necessary.
      The wholesaler might have PL insurance for some stuff but without the certification I'll bet any insurance would be invalid via the small print. You can get insurance but you either have to tell the insurer what you are doing or not do stuff which would invalidate the insurance. And of course if you haven't got the certificates I would assume that there goes your insurance too.
      Sounds a bit dodgy

      Comment


      • #4
        The safety assessment/certificate contains the formulas used to make the products - there is no way I or any other soapmaker give those out.

        Providing you have the soapmakers address, which she would have to give you for her to invoice you - then you will be covered. - If she lies to her insurers to get cover then she will not be. Insurance companies do not ask to see assessments - same as they do not ask to see driving licences to get car insurance.

        Would you be asking these questions if you were going to Makro and buying Dove to resell?

        You seem uncertain about this supplier - do they supply many other shops etc?

        Jane
        www.just-soaps.com
        Twitter JUSTSOAPS
        FB www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Soaps/258910018463
        Natural Handmade Olive Oil Soaps and Skincare free from SLS, Parabens, and other Nasties

        Comment


        • #5
          I think you need to read up the regs. I can't help you there although I'm a Scientist and look at regs and data sheets disposal but REACH regs covers products. Regs are different for products depending on volume that is made and if they are considered 'articles' or 'preparations' etc. Links to REACH regs
          http://www.hse.gov.uk/reach/

          Just noticed....you mention public liability which is totally different from product laibility. PL is incase you damage property etc but product liabailty insures against claims arising from product use.
          Last edited by Incognito 1; 07-01-2013, 11:19 AM. Reason: Pl/PI

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks for clarifying things, Jane.

            So....if a retailer can't see the certification how can they be sure the soap they are buying to sell on is safe? Do they just have to trust the word of the soapmaker?

            Can Trading Standards demand to read your certificates?

            Comment


            • #7
              Presumably you could hold a version of the cert with the exact recipe blanked out? Are soaps just standard ingredients?

              Comment


              • #8
                I have been in a similar position regarding disposal. A manufaturer only had the 'recipe' type data sheet available and I was worried about passing this on and releasing it in to the public domain. I deleted various bits of information and advised them to have a standard data sheet written. It still needs to give components, concentrations and risk phrases/hazards as components which are hazardous are non hazardous below a certain concentration. It doesn't mean that below this concentration you can't get a reaction though. A lot of people aren't aware of their obligations and a lot haven't even read the REACH regs.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with Jane....but to be clear, some posters are talking about Material Safety Data Sheets (something all base ingredients or chemicals need) and some posters are talking about Safety Assessments - they are two totally different things.

                  I think this is about Due Diligence. If you have researched your wholesaler, they have stated that they have Safety Assessments and Product Liability Insurance then you have really done all you can. As Jane says, if you were buying wholesale from Lush or Dove or Clarins you would be unlikely to be asking for copies of their documentation. If you feel suspicious of the supplier then don't buy from them.

                  If, after all of that, you purchase the soap and one of your customers contacts you, to say that the soap burnt their skin off, then the manufacturer is responsible - if they don't have safety certificates or insurance they will be personally sued for the injury caused and clearly, any compensation or fines would come out of their own pocket. Trading Standards may come to you, as the supplier, to see if you were willfully neglectful in selling items you might have reasonably known would cause this degree of harm (you do have a duty of care)...if you were able to chart the lengths you went to, to ensure you were selling from a reputable (and safe supplier) then they would be unlikely to take it further.

                  Safety Assessments are a business asset and I, like Jane, would be very unlikely to be copying them for my customers.

                  Hope this clarifies

                  Jude
                  for bath bomb, soap & Skincare kits
                  plus Soap Base, Bath Bomb Ingredients, Butters,
                  Oils and packaging for Bath & Body Products

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Data sheets and REACH are about due diligence and legal compliance. Now NET Regs has ceased the Environment Agency cover these topics. Read HSE & EA website of you don't believ what I'm telling you is correct. I wouldn't beieve anyone if I hadn't checked the facts for myself. so I don't balme you for not believeing me.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      May I recommend that you contact your local Trading Standards Office - they will help you with this - they are really friendly - they will also clarify which of the above answers are correct:-)

                      Jane
                      www.just-soaps.com
                      Twitter JUSTSOAPS
                      FB www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Soaps/258910018463
                      Natural Handmade Olive Oil Soaps and Skincare free from SLS, Parabens, and other Nasties

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by greannancrafts View Post
                        May I recommend that you contact your local Trading Standards Office - they will help you with this - they are really friendly - they will also clarify which of the above answers are correct:-)

                        Jane
                        You only have to click on the link I have supplied to verify that. You will need to click further links depending if you are an importer or a user further down the chain. The info is all there for you. Will all the trading standards staff be up to speed? When I have asked various 'bodies' about technical issues in the past and they are not always all up to speed.

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