Andy Fry, CFOA Vice President Elect, appeared at Electrical Safety First’s fifth annual Electrical Product Safety Conference on Tuesday 17th November, and set out our concerns about the risks from unsafe and faulty products in UK homes. The event was chaired by broadcaster and campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood, who led a recent review for the government of the current product recall process. The report of this review is expected to be published over the next few weeks.
There were over 7,500 house fires caused by faults in electrical products or systems in 2013/14, and in total over 21,000 fires of all kinds that can be attributed to faults in the same period. During the same period, a significant number of people were known to have been injured or killed as a result of Carbon Monoxide poisoning attributable to faulty or incorrectly installed appliances.
Andy discussed some of the challenges that face trading standards, regulators, manufacturers and fire services when dealing with the issue of faulty products. These include the low numbers of people agreeing to register their products, the limited reach of recall campaigns and the problems of counterfeit or poor quality imported goods.
Outlining CFOA’s view on what more could be done, Andy was clear that the best way to deal with these issues is to prevent the need to recall unsafe products in the first place, by having a robust and well enforced standards and inspection regime. He also suggested that a more convenient product registration process, increased use of social media in recall campaigns and harsher financial penalties for those manufacturers or suppliers that fail to act, might improve the success of recalls.
Improving communication between bodies involved would be helpful, Andy argued, as would utilising the fire and rescue services trusted brand to promote product registration and information on recall websites. You can see a copy of Andy’s presentation by clicking the link.
When Lynn Faulds Wood’s review was announced, CFOA provided a written submission from our electrical safety lead, Andy Reynolds, outlining some of our concerns. The response can be found on the CFOA website.