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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of May 26, 2020

Title 16Chapter IISubchapter APart 1031 → Subpart B


Title 16: Commercial Practices
PART 1031—COMMISSION PARTICIPATION AND COMMISSION EMPLOYEE INVOLVEMENT IN VOLUNTARY STANDARDS ACTIVITIES


Subpart B—Employee Involvement


Contents
§1031.9   Purpose and scope.
§1031.10   Definitions.
§1031.11   Procedural safeguards.
§1031.12   Membership criteria.
§1031.13   Criteria for employee involvement.
§1031.14   Observation criteria.
§1031.15   Communication criteria.

§1031.9   Purpose and scope.

(a) This subpart sets forth the Consumer Product Safety Commission's criteria and requirements governing membership and involvement by Commission officials and employees in the activities of voluntary standards development bodies.

(b) The Commission realizes there are advantages and benefits afforded by greater involvement of Commission personnel in the standards activities of domestic and international voluntary standards organizations. However, such involvement might present an appearance or possibility of the Commission giving preferential treatment to an organization or group or of the Commission losing its independence or impartiality. Also, such involvement may present real or apparent conflict of interest situations.

(c) The purpose of this subpart is to further the objectives and programs of the Commission and to do so in a manner that ensures that such involvement:

(1) Is consistent with the intent of the Consumer Product Safety Act and the other acts administered by the Commission;

(2) Is not contrary to the public interest;

(3) Presents no real or apparent conflict of interest, and does not result in or create the appearance of the Commission giving preferential treatment to an organization or group or the Commission compromising its independence or impartiality; and

(4) Takes into account Commission resources and priorities.

(d) Commission employees must obtain approval from their supervisor and the Office of the Executive Director to be involved in voluntary standards activities. They must regularly report to the Voluntary Standards Coordinator regarding their involvement in standards activities, and provide copies of all official correspondence and other communications between the CPSC and the standards developing entities.

(e) All Commission employees involved in voluntary standards activities are subject to any restrictions for avoiding conflicts of interest and for avoiding situations that would present an appearance of bias.

§1031.10   Definitions.

For purposes of describing the level of involvement in voluntary standards activities for which Commission employees may be authorized, the following definitions apply:

(a) Membership. Membership is the status of an employee who joins a voluntary standards development or advisory organization or subgroup and is listed as a member. It includes all oral and written communications which are incidental to such membership.

(b) Employee involvement. Employee involvement may include the active, ongoing involvement of an official or employee in the development of a new or revised voluntary standard pertaining to a particular consumer product or to a group of products that is the subject of a Commission voluntary standards project. These projects should be those that are approved by the Commission, either by virtue of the agency's annual budget or operating plan, or by other specific agency authorization or decision, and are in accord with subpart A. Employee involvement may include regularly attending meetings of a standards development committee or group, taking an active part in discussions and technical debates, expressing opinions, expending other resources in support of a voluntary standard development activity, and participating as a voting member of, or in a leadership position on, a voluntary standard development group, when authorized. It includes all oral and written communications which are part of the process. Employee involvement may also involve maintaining an awareness related to general voluntary standards projects set forth in the agency's annual budget or operating plan or otherwise approved by the agency.

(c) Observation. Observation is the attendance by an official or employee at a meeting of a voluntary standards development group for the purpose of observing and gathering information.

[71 FR 38755, July 10, 2006, as amended at 81 FR 5377, Feb. 2, 2016]

§1031.11   Procedural safeguards.

(a) Subject to the provisions of this subpart and budgetary and time constraints, Commission employees may be involved in voluntary standards activities that will further the objectives and programs of the Commission, are consistent with ongoing and anticipated Commission regulatory programs as set forth in the agency's operating plan, and are in accord with the Commission's policy statement on involvement in voluntary standards activities set forth in subpart A of this part.

(b) Commission employees who are involved in the development of a voluntary standard and who later participate in an official evaluation of that standard for the Commission shall describe in any information, oral or written, presented to the Commission, the extent of their involvement in the development of the standard. Any evaluation or recommendation for Commission actions by such employee shall strive to be as objective as possible and be reviewed by higher-level Commission officials or employees prior to submission to the Commission.

(c) Commission officials or employees who are authorized to participate as a voting member of a voluntary standard development group represent the position of CPSC staff. Such votes or opinions do not bind the Commission in any way or necessarily represent the opinions or views of the Commission, but rather, solely represent the views of the CPSC staff.

(d) Commission employees and officials who are involved in the development of voluntary standards may accept leadership positions in voluntary standard development groups (e.g., committee chairman or secretary) or leadership positions with the governing bodies of standard-making entities, when authorized with the prior approval of the Office of the Executive Director.

(e) Attendance of Commission personnel at voluntary standards meetings shall be noted in the public calendar, and meeting summaries shall be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, as required by the Commission's meetings policy, 16 CFR part 1012.

[71 FR 38755, July 10, 2006, as amended at 81 FR 5377, Feb. 2, 2016]

§1031.12   Membership criteria.

(a) The Commissioners, their special assistants, and Commission officials and employees holding the positions listed below, may not become members of a voluntary standards group because they either have the responsibility for making final decisions, or advise those who make final decisions, on whether to rely on a voluntary standard, promulgate a consumer product safety standard, or to take other action to prevent or reduce an unreasonable risk of injury associated with a product.

(1) The Commissioners;

(2) The Commissioners' Special Assistants;

(3) The General Counsel and General Counsel Staff;

(4) The Executive Director, the Deputy Executive Director, and Special Assistants to the Executive Director;

(5) The Associate Executive Directors and Office Directors;

(6) The Assistant Executive Director of the Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction, the Deputy Assistant Executive Director of the Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction and any Special Assistants to the Assistant Executive Director of that office.

(b) All other officials and employees not covered under §1031.12(a) may participate as voting members or accept leadership positions in voluntary standard development groups, when authorized with the prior approval of the Office of the Executive Director.

(c) Commission employees or officials who have the approval of the Office of the Executive Director to accept membership in a voluntary standards organization or group pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section shall apprise the General Counsel and the Voluntary Standards Coordinator prior to their acceptance.

(d) Commission officials or employees who desire to become a member of a voluntary standards body or group in their individual capacity must obtain prior approval of the Commission's Ethics Counselor for an outside activity pursuant to the Commission's Employee Standards of Conduct, 16 CFR part 1030.

[71 FR 38755, July 10, 2006, as amended at 81 FR 5377, Feb. 2, 2016]

§1031.13   Criteria for employee involvement.

(a) Commission officials, other than those positions listed in §1031.12(a), may be involved in the development of voluntary safety standards for consumer products, but only in their official capacity as employees of the Commission and if permitted to do so by their supervisor and any other person designated by agency management procedures. Such involvement shall be in accordance with Commission procedures.

(b) Employees in positions listed in §1031.12(a)(4), (5), and (6) may be involved, on a case-by-case basis, in the development of a voluntary standard provided that they have the specific advance approval of the Commission.

(c) Except in extraordinary circumstances and when approved in advance by the Executive Director in accordance with the provisions of the Commission's meetings policy, 16 CFR part 1012, Commission personnel shall not become involved in meetings concerning the development of voluntary standards that are not open to the public for attendance and observation. Attendance of Commission personnel at a voluntary standard meeting shall be noted in the public calendar and meeting logs filed with the Office of the Secretary in accordance with the Commission's meetings policy.

(d) Generally, Commission employees may become involved in the development of voluntary standards only if they are made available for comment by all interested parties prior to their use or adoption.

(e) Involvement by Commission officials and employees in voluntary standards bodies or standards-developing groups does not, of itself, connote Commission agreement with, or endorsement of, decisions reached, approved or published by such bodies or groups.

§1031.14   Observation criteria.

A Commission official or employee may, on occasion, attend voluntary standards meetings for the sole purpose of observation, with the advance approval of his or her supervisor and any other person designated by agency management procedures. Commission officials and employees shall notify the Voluntary Standard Coordinator, for information purposes, prior to observing a voluntary standards meeting.

§1031.15   Communication criteria.

(a) Commission officials and employees, who are not in the positions listed in §1031.12(a), or who are not already authorized to communicate with a voluntary standards group or representative incidental to their approved membership in a voluntary standard organization or group or as part of a voluntary standard, may:

(1) Communicate, within the scope of their duties, with a voluntary standard group, representative, or other committee member, on voluntary standards matters which are substantive in nature, i.e., matters that pertain to the formulation of the technical aspects of a specific voluntary standard or the course of conduct for developing the standard, only with the specific advance approval from the person or persons to whom they apply to obtain approval for involvement pursuant to §1031.13. The approval may indicate the duration of the approval and any other conditions.

(2) Communicate, within the scope of their duties, with a voluntary standard group, representative, or other committee member, concerning voluntary standards activities which are not substantive in nature.

(b) Commission employees may communicate with voluntary standards organizations only in accordance with Commission procedures.

(c) Commissioners can engage in substantive and non-substantive written communications with voluntary standards bodies or representatives, provided a disclaimer in such communications indicates that any substantive views expressed are only their individual views and are not necessarily those of the Commission. Where a previous official Commission vote has taken place, that vote should also be noted in any such communication. Copies of such communications shall thereafter be provided to the other Commissioners, the Office of the Secretary, and the Voluntary Standards Coordinator.

(d) The Voluntary Standards Coordinator shall be furnished a copy of each written communication of a substantive nature and a report of each oral communication of a substantive nature between a Commission official or employee and a voluntary standards organization or representative which pertains to a voluntary standards activity. The information shall be provided to the Voluntary Standards Coordinator as soon as practicable after the communication has taken place.

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