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New Guidance for Businesses Selling Dangerous Goods Launched


Hazardous materials and dangerous products such as knives not only pose a potential risk to those who buy them, they also represent a danger to the general public if they fall into the wrong hands.

The horrific injuries caused by acid attacks and knife crime, as well as the devastation wrought by terrorist atrocities using home-made explosives, highlight how important it is that businesses selling dangerous goods behave responsibly and conscientiously – and that they have procedures in place that minimise the potential harm caused by the products they sell.

Since the introduction of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 (OWA), businesses that supply such products have had to adhere to a range of new requirements designed to ensure the safety of their customers and society at large.

To help these retailers get it right, Business Companion has published a new information resource which sets out in plain English what the law says. It provides advice and guidance for traders who may need to quickly check something, or who may have concerns about a particular customer or sale.

The information resource is divided into two parts; the first focuses on hazardous products such as acids, corrosives, poisons and explosives precursors. It gives practical guidance around things like storage, delivery and labelling, and sets out the restrictions and requirements around the sale of specific substances and types of product.

The second part of the guidance addresses knives and bladed articles, first by examining exactly what the law defines as a knife – including those which are illegal to sell in the UK – and then setting out the requirements around age checks and best practice procedures.

While all retailers have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe, it is particularly important that businesses selling potentially dangerous items take their responsibilities extra seriously. By doing so they can avoid the risk of enforcement action or legal penalties, and be safe in the knowledge that they are playing their part in keeping their customers and the general public safe.

To view the guidance or download the PDF booklet, click here.

Business Companion is a free online information resource operated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) with the support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It hosts a wealth of information for businesses across a wide variety of sectors, providing accurate, reliable and up-to-date guidance on numerous aspects of consumer law.