Halloween Horror Stories: Looking to the past to ensure a safe holiday

Although Halloween is intended to scare, no company wants to sell, supply or manufacture an unsafe product this holiday season. Intertek, global quality solutions provider, highlights the importance of looking to the horror stories of the past, to ensure safe consumers this Halloween.

28 October 2014

Halloween is a popular date in the calendar when children, as well as some grown-ups, enjoy dressing up in ghoulish costumes and visiting their friends and family, hopefully sharing treats rather than tricks. Fake blood and bandages are everywhere!

While Halloween is intended to scare, no company wants to sell, supply or manufacture an unsafe product this holiday season; be it costumes, masks, candles or sweets! Intertek, leading global quality solutions provider, highlights the importance of looking to the horror stories of the past, to help people avoid those bloody bandages becoming a reality.

What is even better than learning from your own mistakes? Learning from other people's mistakes! Intertek Product Intelligence does precisely that when assessing the safety of any given product category.

Analysing millions of data records, Intertek thoroughly examines prior customer complaints, recalls and injuries and fatalities related to products similar to your own. Reports of injuries and fatalities released by various government bodies and charities, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of accidents (RoSPA) can highlight hazards associated with your product, which may not be immediately apparent in the design studio. For example, figures show that 150 people in the U.K. had to spend time in the hospital as a result of clothing either igniting or melting. We also know that accidental candle fires in homes resulted in 401 injuries and six deaths across Great Britain in 2012-13. Although these accidents happen year-round, this valuable insight is especially relevant when designing products to be used around Halloween, when thousands of people will be using candles.

Data analysis allows Intertek to establish not only the types of hazards associated with a product category, but also the age distribution (who were mainly involved), diagnosis (what happened), consumer behaviour (how this happened), product characteristics (why it happened) and even caregiver behaviour. Through data analysis and research into consumer behaviour such as this, Intertek safety experts can provide insight and guidance on the safety of consumer products.

Have you ever used prior customer complaints, recalls or injury and fatality data to better inform the design of your product? Please visit us at http://www.intertek.com/product-intelligence/safety/ or leave a comment or question below and one of our experts will get back to you.

Today’s expert blogger is Jeremy Opperer, European Technical Operations Director for Intertek Product Intelligence, where he has worked since 2004. He helps his clients to develop, manufacture and distribute safe products in the consumer goods market by investigating potential safety risk issues. Jeremy’s work ranges from assessments on individual products to the strategic development of corporate safety processes. Jeremy received his doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University.