Faulty white goods such as fridge freezers, tumble dryers and washing machines, are causing over 60 house fires a week in the UK, a new investigation by Which? has revealed.
16,000 “potentially deadly” fires since 1 April 2012
By analysing fire data obtained through Freedom of Information requests as part of its “End Dangerous Products” campaign, Which? discovered that since 1 April 2012, malfunctioning kitchen appliances have reportedly caused close to 16,000 “potentially deadly” fires throughout the UK.
Which? calls for reform of “antiquated product safety regime”
The campaign, which was launched yesterday, calls for “fundamental reform” of the UK’s “antiquated product safety regime”. Which? says that “fundamental failings in the current product safety system mean some specific appliances pose a disproportionately high risk of starting a fire as the result of a fault”.
Government action “falls woefully short”
With the number of fires due to faulty white goods remaining “stubbornly high” in recent years, Which? believes that government action to keep potentially dangerous goods out of people’s homes “falls woefully short of what is needed”.
The consumer group refers to the Grenfell fire, which was reportedly started by a fridge freezer and confirms that it has written to ministers giving them 90 days to publish an action plan for the new Office for Product Safety and Standards, launched last month, which it says must set out the “true scale” of product safety risks that the UK is facing, plus the “immediate steps” that the Office will take in order to prevent more “devastating fires”.
Which? has also demanded that the plan includes the action that the Office will take to “remove the remaining one million fire risk Whirlpool tumble dryers from people’s homes”.
Brands that Which? says “cause concern” include Whirlpool-owned brands Hotpoint and Indesit, Beko, Hoover and Haier, with faulty washing machines and tumble dryers found to be the most “high-risk” white goods.
“common household appliances represent disproportionate risk”
Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? CEO, said: “It’s shocking that there are more than 60 house fires every week in the UK because of faulty appliances. People will undoubtedly be worried to hear our findings that some of the most common household appliances represent a disproportionate risk of causing a fire due to being faulty.
“The Government must now publish an action plan for the Office of Product Safety and Standards in the next 90 days, setting out what it will do to keep dangerous products out of consumers’ homes and tackle Britain’s broken product safety regime.”
Which? says that, without “stronger national action” to keep dangerous products out of British homes, it is concerned that the situation will only get worse when the UK leaves the EU.