FIVE SUPPLIERS of lighting equipment were expelled from the Lighting Industry Association in the last 12 months over quality issues, it has been revealed.
The companies had refused to cooperate with the organisation’s market surveillance programme, which aims to tackle lighting products which don’t comply with relevant standards.
Peter Hunt, the Lighting Industry Association’s chief operating officer, made the revelation at the LIA’s annual lunch.
‘In the event that a member refuses to co-operate, we don’t have any sanction we can take other than remove them from membership’, he told the gathering at London’s Drapers Hall.
’It’s with sadness that I can report that five members were removed last year for that reason and in all likelihood we will see a couple more in the next few months.
‘But I make no apologies for the credibility that this gives the LIA and more importantly, its members.’
The companies were a small minority of the 270-strong membership of the UK trade body and the LIA didn’t identify any unsafe products sold by an LIA member in the first two years that it has been running the scheme.
The LIA regularly inspects documents from members for any discrepancies which might lead it to think there could be a compliance problem. It then works with the member to help address any compliance issues and provide advice on an approach which would support compliance across the rest of their business.
‘It’s important to remember that this is effectively a dummy run for a visit from the real market surveillance authorities but without the legal and business consequences of a failure,’ said Hunt. ‘We do expect members to act quickly and responsibly to address any problems, as would the authorities, and once corrective actions have been agreed and signed off, we close the file.’
In 2017, 36 per cent of the inspected files were not fully compliant. ‘In all but the five cases I mentioned, these non-compliances were dealt with satisfactorily’, said Hunt.
Last year, the compliance rate improve to 75 per cent. ‘I should point out that the non-compliances were not restricted to the smaller companies, they were from companies of all sizes. I should also point out that many of them were minor issues but whichever way you look at it, they were outside the legal requirements placed on our industry.
‘You can still argue that anything less than 100 per cent compliance is not good enough but there are two ways to look at this.
‘Are the regulations for our industry now so incredibly complicated that it is increasingly difficult to comply with? I refer you to my call for simple effective regulation. Or is there more work to be done to support members in achieving compliance?
‘I think that we have to tackle both but if some companies can achieve it, it’s not unreasonable to expect all our members to do so and we are here to help in that endeavour.
‘What are we doing to improve things? One of the biggest problems we come across is a wide variety of format for the documentation we receive and in some cases a lack of understanding of what is required.
‘As a result we are developing a standardised technical file template with guidance built into it to take the member through every step. We also have the support of the market surveillance authorities in this aim who find the variety of document formats they see as equally challenging.
‘Another step is that we now ask each member to nominate a compliance officer who will not only be the main point of contact for market surveillance and regulatory updates but we will carry out an assessment of their competence and understanding.
‘Furthermore we have stepped up our training on compliance so there is a route to every piece of knowledge a member could require.’
This year the LIA is aiming for a compliance rate in excess of 80 per cent.
- Learn more about lighting product safety from the Lighting Industry Association at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition, taking place on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019 at London ExCeL. Entry is free. See the full programme and register for a place HERE.