The government has today (21 January 2018) announced the creation of a new national oversight body tasked with identifying consumer risks and managing responses to large-scale product recalls and repairs.
The new Office for Product Safety and Standards will enable the UK to meet the evolving challenges of product safety by responding to expanding international trade, the growth in online shopping and the increasing rate of product innovation.
London Fire Brigade have responded to the announcement:
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley said:
“I won’t be able to rest until I know that people can easily check whether or not they have a potentially deadly appliance in their home. We welcome the establishment of the new Office for Product Safety and Standards but their first act should be to establish a single government backed product recall database to make it easier for people to check whether they are using a faulty appliance.
“We don’t even know how many defective white goods there are in use in homes across the UK but we do know there are at least a million Whirlpool tumble dryers with an identifiable defect that has caused over 750 fires in the UK.*
According to London Fire Brigade figures, nearly one fire a day in London involves white goods and in 2016, the Brigade launched its Total Recalls campaign which calls on the government and manufacturers to implement a number of changes to make all white goods safer including making it easier for consumers to find out if they own potentially dangerous goods via a centrally managed recall data base.
What is the Brigade calling for?
• A single government backed product recall database
• Recalls notices to be better publicised to reduce confusion
• Greater regulation of second-hand appliances
• Changes to the way that fridges and freezers are manufactured
• All appliances to be marked with a model and serial number to allow identification after a fire
(*As reported by Whirlpool to BEIS select committee)
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:
The new Office for Product Safety and Standards will strengthen the UK’s already tough product safety regime and will allow consumers to continue to buy secure in the knowledge there is an effective system in place if products need to be repaired or replaced.
I thank the working group for their efforts to help improve product safety and I look forward to working with them in this new phase.
Neil Gibbins, Chair of the working group, said:
It has been my mission to make the public safe since I joined the fire service nearly 40 years ago. That’s why I’m pleased to see the government respond to our recommendations with concrete steps to ensure the safety of consumers, now and in the future.
The government will continue to work with stakeholders such as consumer groups, manufacturers and retailers to ensure the office coordinates the UK’s product safety regime as effectively as possible.
This will not lessen any of the legal responsibilities that sit with manufacturers, importers and retailers to present safe products to the market, and to take rapid effective action when safety issues arise with their products.