Baja Inc. and its corporate affiliate, One World Technologies Inc. of Anderson, have agreed to pay a $4.3 million civil penalty for failure to report defective minibikes and go-carts, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The fine is the commission’s largest ever civil penalty, according to a spokeswoman.
The settlement resolves charges that the firm failed to report to the commission immediately – as required by law – defects and unreasonable risk of serious injury involving 11 models of minibikes and go-carts, according to a release.
The gas cap can leak or detach from the fuel tank on the recalled minibikes and go-carts, which pose fire and burn hazards, according to the commission.
Baja sold the vehicles nationwide from November 2004 through June 2010 for $200 to $2,000, according to a release. Baja and the commission announced the recall of 308,000 minibikes and go-carts in July 2010.
Baja did not file its full report with the commission until June 2010. The company had received four reports of fires from leaking gas caps and burn injuries to consumers, including a serious burn injury to a child by the filing date, according to the commission.
Baja also had received two dozen consumer reports of stuck throttles, according to the release. The company had implemented changes to repair the throttle hazard, however, it had not notified consumers or the commission of the changes.
In addition to paying the $4.3 million civil penalty, Baja and One World Technologies Inc. will maintain a program designed to ensure compliance with the safety statutes and regulations enforced by the commission.
Those statutes and regulations include written standards and policies; systematic procedures for reviewing and referring consumer and retailer incident reports for potential safety issues; confidential employee reporting of compliance concerns to a senior manager; effective communication of compliance policies and procedures, which includes training; senior manager responsibility for compliance and accountability for violations; oversight of compliance by the firm’s governing body; and records retention requirements.
In agreeing to the settlement, Baja and One World Technologies Inc. did not admit to the charges by the commission’s staff that its minibikes and go-carts contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury of death or that the company failed to notify the commission in a timely manner, according to the release.
The investigation that led to the settlement was initiated by the Office of Compliance and Field Operations, and the Office of the General Counsel handled the enforcement action, according to the commission.
To report a dangerous product or product-related injury, visit SaferProducts.gov or call (800) 638-2772.