The Government has been urged to tackle the issue of faulty appliances. Consumer champion Which? says 60 fires a week are caused by every-day electrical goods such as washing machines and tumble dryers. It wants the newly-created Office for Product Safety to take action to made products safer.
According to Which? the number of fires involving domestic appliances has remained the same for five years. The fire at Grenfell Tower started in a faulty fridge freezer. However, manufacturers have questioned the data used by Which? in its call for urgent action.
Defects result in fires
A defect in some makes of tumble dryer has allegedly caused hundreds of fires since 2004. The response of the manufacturers has been described by The Commons Business Committee as “woeful”. MPs say it is unacceptable that one million faulty tumble dryers are still in use.
Before making its call for action, Which? used the Freedom of Information Act to gather fire statistics from the Home Office and individual fire authorities. It says, faulty appliances have led to 16,000 fires in the UK over the past six years. It gives a breakdown of its findings:
- Washing machines and tumble dryers were responsible for 35 per cent
- Cookers were responsible for 11 per cent
- Dishwashers were responsible for 10 per cent
- Fridges, freezers and fridge freezer were responsible for 8 per cent
90 days to take action
Which? wants the Government to come up with an action plan to tackle the problem of faulty appliances within 90 days. Simon Blackburn, of the Local Government Association, said: “This is just the first step. It is essential that consumers have access to as much information as possible.”
Rachel Reeves, who chairs The Commons Business Committee, told the BBC: “While we welcomed the decision to establish an Office for Product Safety and Standards, we agree the government must make sure it has real teeth and ensure it leads to more people registering their products, a better recall regime and ultimately a reduction in the number of fires that blight so many homes and put lives at risk.”
Tough product safety system
In response to Which?, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy pointed out: “The government’s top priority is to keep people safe, which is why last month we set out our approach to further strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety system.”
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