There are some steps that you should take urgently if your company finds itself the subject of a product recall or if you suspect that there is a serious safety or product efficacy issue to deal with.

There are some steps that you should take urgently if your company finds itself the subject of a product recall or if you suspect that there is a serious safety or product efficacy issue to deal with.

Gather information

Capture field and factory information about faults: what are they, how many are there, when were they discovered, what are the batch details?

Collect as many samples as possible, take photographs, find inspection reports, identify common factors, identify the affected population.

 Beware of admissions in internal or external documents, including emails, before position is established and advised on.

Safety risk assessment

Once enough information is available assess the likelihood of injury and the likely severity.

Notify regulators

Once there has been a risk assessment and lawyers have advised, consider whether you are obliged to notify a regulatory.

Be prepared to advise what corrective/recall action is being taken and why or why none is appropriate.

Get advice

Involve your lawyers from the start to guide on:

·         safety and recall obligations;

·         use of privilege to avoid open admissions that can be used against you

·         use of privilege to cloak fault investigations

·         documenting fault and scale  for loss recovery or defence purposes

·         clearance of PR releases/announcements/recall notices

PR

If the issue is likely to be large scale or serious, involve PR professionals to support communication with press, customers and government. Ensure that a point of contact for all media enquiries is established and brief all staff, including those answering phones, to direct all queries to the point of contact.

Consider material to include on website.

Insurers

Notify any liability or recall insurers urgently. Seek to keep insurers abreast and bought in to any recall activity.

Team

Assemble a senior crisis team to be responsible for and to coordinate the handling of the issue.

Product

Consider quarantining product that is suspect in a factory, warehouse or distribution chain while information is gathered and assessed.

 Recover and store in conditions where it will not degrade fault examples or all recalled product if possible and practical to evidence any recovery claim.