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ISM Article

Product Safety Measures

1 Nov, 2006 By: Tetsuo Kubo imageSource

Product Safety Measures

Shredder shipments from the six manufacturers participating in JBMIA, mainly
for office use, increased more than double from 36,000 units in 2004 to 77,000
units in 2005. The number of non-JBMIA resellers who sell home use lower-end
shredders made in China is rapidly increasing and with the shipments from such
resellers, the Japan domestic shredder shipment is expected to hit 200,000
units, an increase from 2005.

Worldwide, safety issues are an important aspect of any device’s overall
performance. After several reported accidents with paper shredders in Japan,
including children that had their fingers severely injured by paper shredders
used at home, the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) issued
requests to Japan Business Machine and Information System Industries Association
(JBMIA) and the All Japan Stationary Association to: 

1) Investigate cases 

2) Warn consumers 

3) Work to prevent such accidents from happening.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is participating in
voluntary standard activities related to paper shredders. CPSC is currently
working with Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) Standards Technical Panel
60950, Information Technology Equipment, to address finger injuries to children
associated with home document shredder machines. CPSC staff is focusing on
changes to the test probe, since the probe currently specified in the standard
to test the accessibility to hazardous moving parts does not capture injuries to
young children.  Based upon information presented from in-depth investigative
reports, injuries often occurred when children were feeding paper into a
shredder (under adult supervision) but did not release the paper in time to
prevent their fingers from entering the shredder opening.

Safety standards for shredders have been set for office use, not children in
scope, but METI and industry organizations will work to set up new safety
standards, reflecting on the recent accidents to help prompt modification of
shredders at this time.

The strong warnings made by METI are due to the rapid use of shredders in
home offices. Up until recently, shredders were mainly used by businesses
wanting to protect privacy, such as financial companies who deal with customer

However, since Act of the Protection of the Personal Information was put in
force in April 2005, the need to shred and dispose documents, postcards or
letters has increased not only from business and small offices, but from homes
as well. Increasingly, there are more shredders being installed within the reach
of children, whereby accidents of this nature are becoming greater.

While some of Japan’s manufacturers have been coping with shredder safety
measures, industry leader Meiko Shokai set their own standards in 1991 to help
keep individuals, especially children, safe from accidents. In general, office
equipment or stationary resellers should be able to contribute to consumers with
warnings and the introduction of safer shredders to offices and homes,
especially in their community sales territories.

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