ICPHSO Report / December 2015
US Consumer Product Safety Commission — Interview
Carol Cave Deputy Director, Office of Compliance & Field
When and why did you join the CPSC?
I joined the CPSC in February of 1992 after many years working for the Depart- ment of Defense and graduating from the University of Maryland. I learned about the CPSC as a child when my mother worked for the CPSC in the Economics office. She use to talk about all the recalls the agency would do and the most dis- tinct memory I have was the asbestos in hairdryer issues. As a teenage girl I found this most troubling. How would I style my Farah hair without a hairdryer! In all seriousness it was her interest in working at the CPSC, which led me to apply to the agency when I felt I could make a differ- ence in protecting consumers.
What jobs have you had at the CPSC?
I started in the Office of Epidemiology as a Program Analyst and after several years moved to the Office of Compli- ance as a Compliance Officer focusing on hazards with products that were unreported to the Commission. I was promoted from there to the Director of State and Local Programs in Field Oper- ations working with our State Designees and was then promoted to the Director of Field Operations. After several years of running that organization I was asked to start up the Import Surveillance Program in 2008. That program went from a Divi- sion to a thriving Office that works with US Customs on a daily basis at ports around the country. While serving in this role I was asked if I would consider taking on the role of Deputy Director of Compliance and Field Operations. I am thrilled to be working again with the staff in the Office of Compliance and Field Operations. It is a rewarding place to be.
Which of these experiences and roles have had the most impact on your perspective as a regulator and product safety advocate?
Each role has contributed to my perspectives as a regulator and product safety advocate. As a Program Analyst I gained valuable knowledge is assessing and evaluating risk of injury to consumers. As a Compliance Officer taking that same risk knowledge and developing cases for product hazards or classes of product hazards to improve future product development to prevent further injury or death to consumers was immensely satisfying. As the Director of the Office of Import Surveillance I had the pleasure to work with other federal partners, importers, trade associations, and testing laboratories and realized the importance of hearing differing points of view for solving challenging problems. It is the combination of these roles that allows me to consider various perspectives as we approach product safety.
In your new role as Deputy Director, what objectives or agenda have you set for the next year and beyond?
As many know from my work with US Customs, I am big on risk based decision making and will look for ways to increase the speed and effectiveness of our work involving products presenting high risks to consumers. I also intend to work closely with industry to improve the effectiveness of their consumer product recalls. I hope to align priorities for the office and work with CPSC staff to execute operational efficiencies and enforcement policies.
How do you see ICPHSO’s role in product safety and do you have thoughts on how we might work with the CPSC to help it achieve its objectives?
I have has the pleasure of working with ICPHSO since early 2001 and have always felt the organization made positive contributions towards product safety, especially in the areas of education and training. Similar to how CPSC works with the trade community on the Import side of CPSC, I feel ICPHSO can work to provide educa- tion and training to a vastly untouched importing community that is unfamiliar with CPSC laws and regulations. We are an extremely small agency, with a huge mission and leveraging partnerships is critical to our success of making products safer for consumers.