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Product Safety

Based on Toshiba Group Basic Policy on Product Safety and Toshiba Group Standard of Conduct, we ensure customer safety and positively disclose full information of safety to customers.

Medium- to Long-term Vision

  • Eradicating serious product incidents arising from our corporate negligence
  • Proactively disclosing information on serious product incidents

FY 2015 Achievement

The number of violations of Electrical Appliances and Material Safety Law
Target 0 →    Achievement 0

Future Challenges and Approaches

Our “Group-wide Safety No. 1 Working Group” will play a more active role in strengthening our measures to guarantee product safety. We will also boost our efforts to swiftly retrieve products after a recall has been announced in order to ensure the safety of our customers in the market.

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Basic Policy on Product Safety

In keeping with the Toshiba Group Basic Policy on Product Safety, Toshiba Group endeavors to comply with relevant laws and regulations, to ensure product safety, and also to proactively disclose reliable safety information to our customers. Furthermore, we continually research safety-related standards and technical standards (UL Standards*1, CE Marking*2 etc.) required by the countries and regions where we distribute products, and display the safety compliance of our products in accordance with the relevant standards and specifications.

Toshiba Group Basic Policy on Product Safety

  1. We comply with the applicable laws and regulations on product safety in Japan and overseas.
  2. We widely gather information on product safety incidents and disclose such information in a proactive manner.
  3. We swiftly report product safety incidents to the competent authorities in accordance with laws and regulations.
  4. In the event of a serious incident attributable to any of our products, we swiftly institute a product recall and notify customers without delay.
  5. We issue alerts, as necessary, and employ warning labels to encourage safe use.
  6. We thoroughly analyze the causes of any product safety incident and strive to prevent recurrence.
  • *1 UL Standards: Safety standards issued by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a US-based non-profit organization that sets, assesses and certifies the safety of materials, products and equipment.
  • *2 CE Marking: This marking verifies a product’s compliance with the safety standards applied by member states of the European Union (EU). Certain products are not allowed to be distributed within the EU unless they bear this marking.

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Structure of Response to the Occurrence of Product Accidents

If an employee discovers information on accidents involving Toshiba products in the market, he/she promptly alerts the accident response staff in the relevant departments. Then the necessary measures are discussed and enacted by the Company CPL Committee*1, chaired by a senior executive, or if necessary, the Corporate CPL Committee. In the event of a serious accident attributable to a product that is likely to recur, we inform customers of the danger and request that they cease using such products, promptly report to the competent authorities, and establish countermeasures as soon as possible.

Furthermore, we are developing an information system to enable swift communication with quality assurance divisions and top management regarding information on product accidents obtained by repair and service staff as well as on how such incidents are being handled by Toshiba.

In FY2015, Toshiba disclosed a total of 46 accidents in the list of serious product accidents on our website*2: 27 cases that were suspected to have been caused by products, 15 cases in which the causes unknown, 2 cases in which they were unknown that if the accidents had not been caused by the products, and 2 case in which they were determined that the accidents had not been caused by the product.

Toshiba Group's Structure to Respond to Occurrence of Product Accidents

Toshiba Group's Structure to Respond to Occurrence of Product Accidents

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Preventing Occurrence and Recurrence of Serious Product Accidents

Guidebook for Preventing Reoccurrence of Accidents (Japanese)Guidebook for Preventing Reoccurrence of Accidents (Japanese)

In 2011 we created the “Guidebook for Preventing Reoccurrence of Accidents,” which is a compilation of accident cases that have occurred since 2004 in Toshiba Group. The Guidebook was distributed to division managers and meetings were held to explain the content to the persons in charge of quality issues in the Group in order to strengthen measures to prevent reoccurrence of accidents. In addition, the information was converted into an e-book for access by personnel in charge of quality and safety-related issues in the Company via the intranet. A serious accident not only signals an alarm for the quality and safety of products, but also can provide precious insight into product development and assessment. We will promote the system of sharing information within the Group and strive to prevent reoccurrence of product accidents.

Activity Example: Promoting Product Safety Information Sharing

In Toshiba Group, the plans and results of product safety-related activities of in-house companies and key group companies are investigated and the information is shared by the Group.

To boost these activities, in FY2011, the persons in charge of product safety issues in in-house companies and Group companies began holding meetings to exchange opinions and information. By learning about the aspects of safety that vary depending on the nature of products, they have contributed to improving product safety.

Such product safety exchange meetings were rated highly by third parties and cited by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry as a reason for officially commending Toshiba as a company that excelled in taking product safety measures.

In FY2013, we further developed these activities and launched a Group-wide Safety No. 1 Working Group. The Working Group systematically reviews and promotes initiatives including formulating safety design standards common to all Toshiba Group companies and creating a database to share information on examples of products that do not comply with safety standards.

Education of Product Safety

Since FY2008, we have been particularly working on reinforcing our management system, ensuring compliance with the Electrical Appliances and Material Safety Law in Japan (hereinafter “the Law”), since the Law has an important bearing on the Group's products. The Chief Quality Executives and the person in charge of the Law initiated a revision of the internal regulations and have created common audit items related to the Law for the entire Group. We also verify the business notification status and compatibilities of the technical standards based on the Law. Furthermore, education through e-learning is provided to all concerned employees in Japan and overseas. 101,003 people took the training in FY2015 and the participation ratio was 99.98%.

Disclosure to Ensure Safe Use of Products

Although products are equipped with various safety features, they may not be sufficient to ensure complete safety if products are in use for very long periods of time or the operating environment or conditions are extreme.

To ensure safe use of products, Toshiba Group describes correct handling of products in users' manuals and, if necessary, through alerts placed in newspapers and on the website, or by means of leaflets, educational materials, etc.

Activity Example: Voice recognition system incorporated in maintenance services

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corporation introduced a system in which matters to be reported during regular checks of elevators and escalators can be recorded as maintenance reports using a voice recognition system.

Voice recognition system

Maintenance staff voice-record the details and the state of the inspection on-site into a smartphone during the inspection. The recorded sound data is converted into text, and recorded as text data in an app installed on the smartphone. As the staff can record just by speaking a few words even during maintenance operations, this allows us to provide as required precise information to customers more quickly. It also improves safety by reducing the workload of maintenance staff.

In the future, we will improve this system further, and evaluate how to apply it in times of emergency, for example after earthquakes.

Activity Example: Education on the proper way of using elevator and escalator

Elevator / Escalator safety campaign at a kindergartenElevator / Escalator safety campaign at a kindergarten Safety Campaign Using a Trailer Caravan Safety Campaign Using a Trailer Caravan

Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems Corp. organizes nationwide safety campaigns to provide instructions concerning the correct use of elevators and escalators, mainly to children in kindergartens and elementary schools. This event, held at kindergartens and community spaces in residential buildings, has been continuing for over the last 30 years, thanks to the cooperation of local communities, including the children and guardians who participated in such events.

Recently, owing to the growing concern in case of earthquake, we held a safety campaign, using a trailer caravan to demonstrate how to respond in a situation in an elevator during an earthquake or power failure, in FY2015 totally 2,760 participants were joined to our events.

Furthermore, the Company also promoted local resident-oriented activities, including making a presentation at a lecture session held by the Shinagawa Ward CSR Council.

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Response to Long-term Use Product Accidents

To ensure safety of consumers, we have asked our long-term users of CRT TVs to conduct safety checks. For refrigerators, to prevent electrical fire or smoke caused by long-term use and deterioration, we distributed flyers requesting customers to stop using products that had been used for more than 25 years since the purchase.

We also provide information on inspection and labeling system for long-term use products and also provide consultations.

Inspection and labeling system for long-term use products (Japanese)

Activity Example: Raising awareness to prevent accidents due to long-term use of household electrical appliances

Cautionary circulars (Japanese) Cautionary circulars (Japanese) (PDF:423KB)

In order to prevent accidents attributable to the deterioration of home appliances over long-term use, in April 2008, the METI promoted consumer awareness on this issue by distributing nationwide cautionary circulars. To further raise awareness on this issue, Toshiba Group distributes cautionary flyers during repair visits, publicizes information on its website and has put in place a call center* to respond to inquiries from customers. In April 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Act was revised, and inspection and labeling system for long term use of products was enforced. While complying with the requirements under this system, Toshiba Group is providing necessary information to the customers who use its website as well as consultations through the call center*.

  • * An inquiry center for providing guidance on the long-term use of home appliances (In Japan)

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Disclosure of Product Safety and Quality Information

In the event of a serious defect or accident resulting from a Toshiba product or service, we promptly report the details to the competent authorities in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations. Also, in order to notify customers of such accidents as quickly as possible, depending upon the severity of damage or frequency of occurrence, we disclose product accident information directly to our customers via newspapers, websites, etc.

Through our corporate website, we disclose information on accidents involving our products as posted on the website of the Consumer Affairs Agency. We also proactively disclose information concerning serious accidents, even when it is unclear whether such accidents are attributable to Toshiba products or not.

Important announcement for customers using our products (Japanese)

Also, we prepare flyers on products that are subject to recall and have particularly high risks of causing a fire, such as air conditioners, CRT TVs, LCD TV / DVD combos, VCRs, humidifiers, halogen lamp equipment, and compact fluorescent lights. We are also developing activities to recall our products more quickly, such as checking whether customers have any defective products when visiting them for repairs or inspections, distributing product flyers at post offices and checking whether there are any products subject to recall in high-risk nursing care facilities.

With respect to the vertical washer-dryer that was made prior to recall in FY2013, we are requesting all Toshiba Group employees, including not only their families but also their relatives, neighbors and friends, to provide product information and to cooperate in repairing defective products.

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Safety Considerations for Electromagnetic Waves

Toshiba Group is involved in standardization work of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) through the activities at the Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association (JEMA) for home appliances and the activities at the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) for radio communication. These activities allow Toshiba Group to keep abreast of the latest information. We are adhering to the standards specified by these organizations to ensure safety for electromagnetic waves.

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