/ Home & Energy

Is the product safety system failing you?

product safety

Product safety is a burning issue, and yet the government’s new product safety team doesn’t have the right tools for the job. Our End Dangerous Products campaign is calling on the government to publish an Action Plan for the new Office for Product Safety and Standards within the next 90 days.

Tragically, the risk posed by dangerous faulty appliances is all too real. Our latest analysis finds that high-risk appliances cause more than eight fires every day on average.

In 2016, the fire in a block of flats in Shepherd’s Bush, which forced many families out of their homes, is thought to have been caused by a faulty Indesit dryer (a brand owned by Whirlpool). Many of those families are still waiting to move back home.

Dangerous dryers

As many of you will know, we’ve raised our concerns over Whirlpool’s fire-risk dryers on multiple occasions over the past two years. And last year we threatened legal action with a judicial review against Peterborough Trading Standards, which ultimately forced Whirlpool to change its advice for dryers affected.

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t going away. According to our findings, faulty washing machines and tumble dryers are the most high-risk appliances, causing 35% of fires between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2016. Other high-risk appliances for the same period include cookers and ovens (11%), dishwashers (10%) and fridges, freezers and fridge freezers (8%).

And yet, despite this consumers are still unknowingly being put in harm’s way as manufacturers produce dangerous products that are making their way into people’s homes.

And yet, despite repeatedly calling on the government to create an independent national body with the tools to get unsafe products out of people’s homes, it still isn’t doing enough.

Fix our safety system

In January this year, the government announced that a new product safety team – Office for Product Safety and Standards – would be working in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help safeguard consumers.

But if consumers are going to be properly protected, we need stronger national action to keep unsafe products out of our homes. The current product safety regime is antiquated and no longer fit for purpose – it must be replaced. A fundamental reform is needed to stop dangerous products from reaching UK households.

Lives depend on it.

End Dangerous Products

There really is no time to waste. The UK’s product safety regime needs urgent reform to protect lives. That’s why we’re giving the government until the 16 May 2018 to publish an Action Plan for the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

The government must set out both the true scale of the product safety risks that we face in the UK and the immediate steps that the Office will take to avert further devastating fires. It must also detail what the Office will do to remove the remaining one million fire risk Whirlpool tumble dryers from people’s homes.

Help us secure action by signing our petition and joining our campaign to End Dangerous Products.


Have you owned a dangerous or faulty product? Do you think the government needs to reform the UK’s product safety regime?

Comments

Which? reveals the children’s Halloween costumes that fail fire safety tests
26 October 2018
Which? warns parents to be wary this Halloween, as a snapshot investigation has found some children’s costumes fail to meet fire safety testing standards.

Why do Which? not press for retailers who sell products that do not meet regulatory standards to be prosecuted?