Ross Stores Agrees to $3.9 Million Civil Penalty, Internal Compliance Improvements for Failure to Report Drawstrings in Children’s Upper Outerwear

Release Date: June 21, 2013

Release Number: 13-224

WASHINGTON, D.C.-The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

announced today that Ross Stores Inc., of Pleasanton, Calif., has agreed to

pay a $3.9 million civil penalty.  The penalty agreement has been accepted

provisionally by the Commission in a 3-0 vote.


The settlement resolves CPSC staff’s charges that from January 2009 to

February 2012, Ross knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as

required by federal law, that it sold or held for sale, about 23,000

children’s upper outerwear garments with drawstrings at the neck or waist.

In February 1996, CPSC issued guidelines (which were incorporated into a

consensus industry voluntary standard in 1997) to help prevent children from

strangling or getting entangled on neck and waist drawstrings in upper

garments, such as sweatshirts and jackets.


In May 2006, the Commission posted a letter on its website which stated that

staff considered children’s upper outerwear with drawstrings at the hood or

neck to be defective and present a substantial risk of injury to young

children.   In July 2011, based on the 1996 CPSC guidelines and the 1997

voluntary standard, CPSC issued a final rule which designates the hazards

presented by drawstrings in children’s upper outerwear as substantial

product hazards.


Ross’s distribution of some children’s garments occurred during the same

period of time as CPSC’s investigation and negotiation of a 2009 civil

penalty.  The $500,000 penalty that Ross paid in 2009 was to settle staff

charges that it failed to report four series of children’s upper outerwear

drawstring garments distributed between 2006 and 2008.  Ross’s distribution

of the other garments in this matter occurred either partially or entirely

after the effective date of CPSC’s Final Rule. There have been no reported

injuries associated with the recalled garments.


In addition to paying a monetary penalty, Ross has agreed to implement and

maintain a compliance program designed to ensure compliance with the

reporting requirements of Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act

and the Final Rule.  Ross also agreed to enhance its existing compliance

policies by ensuring that its ongoing program contains written standards and

policies, a mechanism for confidential employee reporting of

compliance-related questions or concerns, and appropriate communication of

company compliance policies to all employees through training programs. Ross

has designed and implemented a system of internal controls and procedures to

ensure that the firm’s reporting to the Commission is timely, truthful,

complete, accurate, and in accordance with applicable law.  The company will

also take steps to ensure that prompt disclosure is made to management of

any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the design or

operation of such internal controls.


The Commission, in cooperation with Ross and/or other firms that

manufactured, imported, or distributed the Garments, announced recalls of

the garments listed below between March 2010 and May 2012:



Children’s Apparel Network, Ltd. Girls’ hooded sweater with neck



Byer California Girls’ cargo pocket jacket with neck and waist drawstrings

Puma North America Inc.     Youth training jacket with waist drawstrings

LA Fashion Hub Inc. Girls’ winter jacket with neck drawstrings

Umbro Boy’s jacket with waist drawstrings

Hot Chocolate Boy’s jogging suit with waist drawstrings

Bonded Apparel Boy’s Hooded jacket with neck drawstrings

Me Jane Louise Paris Ltd Girl’s fur hood bubble fleece with waist

drawstrings and Fur hooded bubble jacket with waist drawstrings

LANY Group LLC Girls’ terry hooded sweatshirt with neck drawstrings

YMI Jeanswear Girls’ hooded sweatshirt with neck drawstrings


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 agreeing to the settlement, Ross denies staff charges that it knowingly

failed to inform the Commission about the garments, as required by CPSA



Statement of Chairman Inez M. Tenenbaum on the Commission Decision to

Approve Provisionally a Civil Penalty Settlement with Ross Stores, Inc.


June 21, 2013


On June 19, 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC or the

Commission) provisionally approved a civil penalty settlement with retailer

Ross Stores, Inc., to resolve CPSC staff allegations that Ross committed

prohibited acts by failing to inform the Commission of Ross’s continued sale

of children’s garments with drawstrings, which pose a substantial risk of

injury to children due to the risk of entanglement and strangulation.  The

settlement requires Ross to pay a monetary penalty of $3.9 million and, just

as important, to take meaningful measures to reduce the risk of future

noncompliance through implementation of significantly enhanced compliance

procedures and internal controls.  After a review of the specific facts

presented in this case and a careful consideration of the civil penalty

factors, I voted to approve the settlement.


During my tenure as Chairman of the CPSC, my colleague Commissioner Robert

S. Adler and I have written together and separately regarding the need for

civil penalties to truly serve the policy objectives of deterring violations

and promoting compliance with the law, particularly in light of the

increased penalty amounts Congress authorized in the Consumer Product Safety

Improvement Act of 2008.  This settlement reflects the goals and importance

of our enhanced authorities, and I commend the CPSC staff for this result.

This settlement is also a reminder to the regulated community that the

Commission will use every tool at its disposal to keep consumers and their

families safe from unreasonable risks of injury.


Ross is a repeat violator.  In 2009, it paid a civil penalty of $500,000 for

violating the same law, Section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act

(CPSA).  Neither the fine nor the supposed remedial measures Ross

implemented on its own initiative following that settlement was sufficient

to prevent the continued sale of defective garments.  Vendors who were

contractually obligated to provide compliant products continuously failed to

do so; internal policies prohibiting the purchase, inventory, and sale of

garments with drawstrings were equally ineffective.  Regardless of what

Ross’s management may have wanted to believe about the effectiveness of

their policies, they clearly did not work.  Moreover, the fact that Ross did

not design, manufacture, or import the garments did not relieve it of the

obligation to ensure that they comply with all applicable safety statutes

and regulations.


As part of this settlement, Ross has agreed to maintain a vastly improved

compliance program designed to prevent the sale of garments with drawstrings

and to ensure timely reporting, if necessary, under Section 15 of the CPSA.

This compliance program, similar to others the Commission has begun to

require as a warranted condition of settlement, includes the following key

elements: (i) written standards and policies, (ii) whistle-blower

protections, (iii) compliance training programs, (iv) management oversight

of compliance, and (v) five-year record retention requirements.


This case clearly demonstrates that policies cannot exist solely on paper;

individuals must be charged with and held accountable for carrying them out.

It is my hope and expectation that the message we are sending with the

substantial fine and the compliance requirements in this agreement will

increase the likelihood that Ross-and other firms-will not only make the

right decision next time they are confronted with whether to report a safety

issue, but also-and more importantly for consumer safety-will take all

necessary steps to ensure they produce and market only compliant products,

thus obviating the need for any reporting at all.


Jacoby Solutions Launches CPSIA U©, an e-learning Portal, Providing Companies Easy Solution to Meet Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Mandatory Compliance Requirements

On-Line Undue Influence Training Course Now Available

CPSIA U Training

MALVERN, PA (PRWEB) June 04, 2013

Jacoby Solutions has launched CPSIA U, an e-learning portal, to provide companies with an efficient, cost-effective way to comply with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s mandatory compliance and training requirements. The U.S. government regularly adds new compliance requirements for manufacturing companies. Jacoby Solutions’ e-learning portal, CPSIA U, provides an unbiased, industry-endorsed method of tracking and providing proof of compliance to the government. Employees can complete training anytime, anywhere via any digital device including computers, laptops, tablets and mobile iOS or Android devices.

“We understand how difficult it is for many businesses to keep up with compliance regulations, especially small to mid-sized organizations that do not have the time or resources to continuously monitor and interpret the CPSC’s mandates,” said Bill Jacoby, principal of Jacoby Solutions. He continued, “By using our on-line training, we provides companies with the process and documentation to identify their compliance director, map out their escalation and provide the notification process to help prevent what can be massive government fines for organizations that cannot prove they exercised due care when implementing incident notification and reporting to the CPSC.”

CPSIA U.’s initial course offerings are designed to help manufacturers comply with the requirements set out in CPSC’s 16 CFR 1107 ruling. The ‘Undue Influence Training’ requirement is designed to ensure that companies making children’s products do not apply pressure on third-party testing labs to influence positive results. Jacoby Solutions’ experts developed the Undue Influence Training module to help company employees understand the nature and impact of undue influence, and provide a confidential pathway to contact the CPSC if a potential breach is identified.

Mr. Jacoby furthered, “The training module is especially important for organizations who are concerned about their overall compliance for the recent CPSIA requirements that went into effect this past February. The Undue Influence module also provides a comprehensive review of the CPSC’s changes in requirements going back to 2010.” Undue Influence Training is available in English and Chinese. Material Change Testing and Periodic Testing- Creating your Test Plan courses are included in the enrollment and more modules will be made available in the coming months. Details regarding training courses can be found at

About Jacoby Solutions:
Jacoby Solutions is a professional consulting firm with a focus on providing a one stop resource for assistance in making sure a company is “Operationally Ready” for CPSIA compliance. Specializing in the Juvenile, Toy and Consumer Goods space, Jacoby Solutions provides companies the technology and knowledge necessary to adhere to the current and impending compliance mandates related to CPSIA.

Harper Government Announces New Fines to Strengthen the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 4, 2013) – Today, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced the Harper Government has introduced new fines of up to $25,000 per day for companies who violate orders under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). The Administrative Monetary Penalties (Consumer Products) Regulations coming into force provide a flexible and responsive enforcement approach for dealing with specific incidents of non-compliance with an order made under the Act, such as refusing to comply with a recall order.

“Canadian consumers expect the products they pick up on store shelves to be safe for them and their families,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “By introducing significant fines for companies who violate orders to recall unsafe products, our Government is ensuring that companies who break the law will pay the price.”

Penalties are calculated based on the Administrative Monetary Penalties (Consumer Products) Regulations. They reflect the seriousness of the violation and past violation history of the person or company. The maximum penalties range from $5,000, (for a violation committed by an individual or a non-profit corporation, for non-commercial purposes), to $25,000, (in any other case). These numbers represent daily penalties – meaning that the financial burden on the company can increase with each passing day until the matter is resolved.

“We all share an interest in making sure that Canadians are protected from unsafe consumer products,” said Louise Logan President and CEO of Parachute. “Today’s announcement by Minister Aglukkaq brings in new measures to support compliance with the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Canadian parents now have further reassurance that the products they’re buying won’t harm their children.”

Typically, industry voluntarily takes action to address unsafe products. Administrative monetary penalties only come into effect when a company does not comply with government orders to recall a product within specified time frames, or orders to take other measures such as stopping the manufacturing, importation, sale or advertising of a non-compliant product.

“In most cases industry shares our concern for having safe products on the Canadian marketplace,” concluded Minister Aglukkaq. “These penalties will zero in on companies and organizations who won’t take action to protect Canadians from dangerous products.”

Également disponible en français

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at


Administrative Monetary Penalties (Consumer Products) Regulations

What are the Administrative Monetary Penalties (Consumer Products) Regulations?

The Administrative Monetary Penalties (Consumer Products) Regulations are a key component of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act (CCPSA). They provide a flexible and responsive enforcement approach for dealing with specific incidents of non-compliance with an order made under the Act, such as refusing to comply with a recall order.

The Regulations prescribe the time and manner in which a monetary penalty under the CCPSA is calculated, modified, or paid, as well as the manner in which certain documents must be provided.

Health Canada expects that the financial penalties issued under the Regulations will encourage compliance with the CCPSA and its requirements over the long term.

When is an Administrative Monetary Penalty issued?

Typically, industry voluntarily abides by Health Canada’s product safety recommendations. Administrative monetary penalties only come into effect when the government orders a company to recall a product or orders to take other measures such as stopping the manufacturing, importation, sale or advertising of a non-compliant product, and the company does not comply within the specified timeframes.

What are the penalties under the Regulations?

Penalties are calculated in accordance with the Regulations and reflect both the seriousness of the violation and any past violation history of the person or company. The maximum penalties range from $5,000, (for a violation committed by an individual or a non-profit corporation, for non-commercial purposes), to $25,000, (in any other case).

Each day that an incident of non-compliance is not addressed represents a separate violation of the Act – meaning that the financial burden on the company can increase with each passing day until the matter is resolved.

Media Inquiries:

Health Canada

(613) 957-2983

Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq

Federal Minister of Health

(613) 957-0200

Public Enquiries:

(613) 957-2991

1-866 225-0709


Obama Nominates former U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle as CPSC Commissioner

Obama Nominates Buerkle as CPSC Commissioner

By Bill Jacoby

The White House announced Thursday afternoon that President Barack Obama has nominated former U.S. Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle to serve on the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Ann Marie Buerkle is President Barack Obama’s newest nomination to sit on CPSC. A Republican, she is a former New York congresswoman who lost her seat in 2012. She was a a member of the House Tea Party Caucus and the Republican Study Committee. She sat on various subcommittees of the Foreign Affairs, Oversight and Government Reform, and Veterans Affairs committees. In 2011, Obama named her as a representative to the 66th UN General Assembly but she lost her reelection bid in 2012.

Prior to serving in Congress, she was an assistant attorney general for New York State from 1997 to 2009 and was in private practice from 1994 to 1997. She previously worked as a registered nurse. She has degrees from the St. Joseph’s Hospital School of Nursing (1972), Le Moyne College (1977), and Syracuse University College of Law (1994).

Commissioner Nancy Nord is serving her extra year and leaves in October. Last year, Obama nominated Marietta Robinson, a Democrat, to fill Thomas Moore’s former seat with a term until 2017. Robinson received her Senate hearing a year ago and still awaits a confirmation vote. Speculation is that the Senate has been waiting to vote on a Republican and Democrat together.

Buerkle said one of her main tasks as a commissioner will be to uphold the federal Consumer Product Safety Act and to establish standards for products.

“What happens is if there’s a faulty product out there or someone has a complaint, they reach out to the commission,” she said. “So really it’s about consumer product safety and us upholding the law. The commission upholds the law and makes determinations about standards for products produced by manufacturers.”

Before serving on the commission, Buerkle must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If confirmed, she will serve out the remaining time on a seven-year term  vacated by Anne Northup that expires in 2018.


Administrative Law Judge Issues Ruling in CPSC’s Attempt To Hold Magnet Manufacturer CEO Personally Liable

Tied to the recall of rare earth magnets, the CPSC was also seeking to have those products declared substantial product hazards and the CEO of one of those companies personally liable for conducting a recall. The Administrative Law Judge in this case has not issued his ruling that will impact corporate officers/owners of all children’s product manufacturers.


The liability of the CEO was based on the “responsible corporate officer doctrine” which was in turn based on U.S. Supreme Court decisions in United States v. Dotterweich, 320 U.S. 277 (1943) and United States v. Park, 421 U.S. 658 (1975). The administrative law judge held that the doctrine applied to violations of section 15 of the Consumer Product Safety Act. He further stated that the compliant was held sufficient facts to hold the CEO liable because it alleged that the CEO “is responsible for ensuring [the company’s] compliance with the CPSA.”

While written in broad language and not limited to the facts of the case, this ruling may have a profound effect on children’s products manufacturers. The CPSC will be able to threaten a variety of corporate officers from CEO’s/Owners to compliance officers, with personal liability for violations of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

Are you prepared for a voluntary recall? Do you have the documentation in place to show that you can ‘exercise due Care” to the CPSC? Become CPSIA ready with CPSIA, our lab independent, compliance on demand solution for small business.

CPSC Approves Proposed Rule Aimed at Making Strollers Safer

CPSC Approves Proposed Rule Aimed at Making Strollers Safer

Published: Friday, May. 10, 2013 – 10:39 am

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — To help prevent further deaths and injuries to young children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted today to approve a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) to create a federal safety standard for strollers. The Commission voted unanimously (3-0) to approve publication of the NPR in the Federal Register.

The proposed stroller standard incorporates the published voluntary ASTM F833-13 standard,Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Carriages and Strollers, with one modification. The modification would require the addition of language in the standard to address scissoring, shearing, and pinching hazards associated with folding or foldable strollers.

CPSC staff reviewed more than 1,200 stroller-related incidents, including four fatalities and nearly 360 injuries that occurred from 2008 through 2012. Staff believes that the published standard, with the proposed addition in the NPR, will help to reduce the risks associated with the majority of the hazard patterns identified in reviewing the stroller incidents.

Hazard patterns found in strollers include:


  • wheel breakage and detachment;
  • parking brake and lock mechanism failures;stroller
  • hinge issues;
  • structural integrity issues;
  • entrapment;
  • car seat attachment;
  • canopy issues; and
  • handlebar failures.


Reported injuries include:


  • finger amputations on folding hinges and canopy hinges;
  • falls due to wheel detachment or parking brake issues;
  • injuries due to stroller collapse;
  • head entrapment in openings of travel systems; and
  • falls due to a child unbuckling the restraint harnesses.


The proposed rule would also help address finger injuries associated with the folding hinges on folding or foldable strollers. Various stroller types, such as travel systems, carriages, tandem, side-by-side, multi-occupant, and jogging strollers would be covered by the standard.

Staff recommends that the mandatory standard for strollers become effective 18 months following publication of the final rule in the Federal Register.

The proposed rule has a 75-day public comment period. Comments will be able to be posted directly on

The Commission is required under The Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, Section 104(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) to issue consumer product safety standards for durable infant or toddler products.  To date, the Commission has approved more stringent federal safety standards for full-size cribs, non-full-size cribs, play yards, baby walkers, baby bath seats, and children’s portable bed rails.

Media Contact Please use the phone numbers below for all media requests. Phone: (301) 504-7908 Spanish: (301) 504-7800

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