New Substantial Product Safety Hazards: Seasonal/Decorative Lighting and Extension Cords

Today, the CPSC Small Business Obmudsman issued a newletter in which they defined two new substantial product safety hazards: seasonal/decorative lighting and extension cords.

Seasonal/Decorative Lighting:

“Seasonal and Decorative Lighting Products – The final rule (16 CFR part 1120) specifies that seasonal and decorative lighting products that do not contain any one of three readily observable characteristics (minimum wire size, sufficient strain relief, or overcurrent protection), as addressed in a voluntary standard, are deemed a substantial product hazard under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). The rule will become effective on June 3, 2015, and will apply to products manufactured or imported on or after that date. More information about the regulation can be found on our website here and on”

Extension Cords (proposed):

“In its proposed rule, the Commission determines preliminarily that:

“Minimum wire size; sufficient strain relief; polarization; continuity; outlet covers (for indoor cords); and flexible jacketed insulation (for outdoor cords) are all readily observable characteristics of extension cords;

  • the identified readily observable characteristics are addressed by a voluntary standard, Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Standard for Cord Sets and Power-Supply Cords, UL 817, 11th Edition, dated March 16, 2001, revised February 3, 2014 (UL 817);
  • conformance to UL 817 has been effective in reducing the risk of injury from shock and fire associated with indoor and outdoor extension cords; and
  • extension cords sold in the United States substantially comply with UL 817.”

Note that the seasonal/decorative lighting requirement goes into effect NEXT WEEK. If you are importing these products, they must comply with UL 588.

While UL writes these standards, there are multiple NRTLs in the US (or accredited partner labs in Asia) that can perform this testing and ensure compliance. However, nearly all labs will take a minimum of two weeks to perform this testing.

About the Author
I got my first job at Amazon because of my German language skills from my Master’s in History. Take that, people who said I’d never get a good job with my liberal arts degree! I soon learned that I’m not good at taking orders and started my MBA coursework at Seattle University.

I worked at Amazon for 8 years, as a liaison for law enforcement in Fraud/Transaction Risk, a quality and compliance manager in Product Compliance for Amazon Brands and imports globally, and lastly, managing hardware for Website Availability. I love the flexibility that working for clients on Amazon rather than for Amazon affords me.

In my not significant free time, I do fiber crafts such as spinning, crocheting, and embroidery, and I have been in a community band since 2009, playing French Horn, Trombone, or Euphonium depending on the band’s needs that season.

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