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Industry News

Published on July 27th, 2018 | by The GC Team

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Unidentifiable fire-risk appliances putting lives at risk

Which? is calling on the Office for Product Safety and Standards to include commitments in its forthcoming strategy to ensure that manufacturers use fireproof labelling on their appliances so that unsafe white goods can be identified and removed from consumers’ homes.

The consumer magazine said people’s lives are potentially being put at risk, as fire officers are increasingly unable to identify the make and model of appliances that cause fires.

It follows an analysis of the most recent UK fire data, which shows there were 3,203 fires caused by faulty appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and fridge freezers between 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2017, but fire investigators could only identify information about the brand or appliance model in 33% (1,044 in 2016/17) of fires.

Which? said this is a significant drop on the previous three years, where fire investigators were able to identify the make and model in almost half of fires, and means it is becoming even harder for the authorities to link dangerous products to domestic fires and gather the evidence necessary to initiate a product recall.

“This critical flaw means that fire statistics cannot currently be used by bodies such as Trading Standards and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) to hold the manufacturers of these unsafe products accountable,” said Which?

Alex Neill, Managing Director of Home Products and Services, said: “The number of fires caused by faulty washing machines, tumble dryers and fridge freezers has stayed shockingly high for a number of years, but our research shows it’s getting harder to identify the make and model of the appliance in the majority of instances.

“The Government must set out in its forthcoming product safety strategy how it will ensure that manufacturers use fireproof labelling on all of their appliances, so that identified dangerous white goods can be quickly removed from people’s homes and potentially save lives.”

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