Consumer Minister Margot James attended the first meeting of a working group set up to deliver urgent recommendations to improve the safety of white goods.
The government-backed group, created following a serious fire in Hammersmith, London started by a faulty Whirlpool tumble dryer, was led by Neil Gibbins, a former Deputy Chief Fire Officer and CEO of the Institution of Fire Engineers.
At the meeting attended by key stakeholders from leading trade associations, trading standards professionals and the Fire Service, the Business Minister encouraged the group to pay particular attention to:
- identifying the causes of fire in white goods and the action needed to reduce them
- registration of electrical products at the point of sale
- the development of a code of practice for product recalls including the peer review of risk assessments
- improving the information available to consumers and the role of consumer education
- ways to improve the capture and use of data relating to faulty electrical goods
- the value of marking white goods to preserve their identification through fire
The work of the group will build on the strong progress already made by the Recall Review Steering Group that was set up to consider the recommendations made by Lynn Faulds Wood’s independent review. Margot James has asked the Chair of the group Neil Gibbins to provide a set of recommendations before the end of the year.
Consumer Minister Margot James said:
This government is taking action to address consumer concerns over product safety. The launch of the working group on product recalls and safety chaired by Neil Gibbins former deputy Chief Fire Officer will address the key issues needed to protect consumers.
People need more information now though and that is why my department has developed a specific portal which acts as a one stop shop for information on current product recalls.
As well as attending meetings by the group, the minister has continued to engage key stakeholders. Recently she met the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) to discuss how best to encourage consumers to sign up to the ‘Register My Appliance’ initiative, aimed at quickly contacting and alerting consumers to particular problems and potential safety issues.
The minister has also met representatives from Whirlpool to better understand what measures they are taking to modify and replace appliances. The minister used the opportunity to impress the need for better communication with its customers and to resolve issues faster, reducing waiting times for modification.
On 15 October 2016, Margot James announced the creation of the new working group on product recalls and safety. The group met for the first time on 1 November 2016.