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Whirlpool must still do more to let people know about the dangers of unmodified faulty tumble dryers to prevent further fires that put people at serious risk.
While London Fire Brigade welcomes the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) Review of Whirlpool’s tumble dryer modification programme, which says consumers with modified appliances can continue use them safely, the company needs to do more to highlight the risks of the ones yet to be repaired.
Recent figures estimated that as many as 500,000 customers still have unmodified tumble dryers in their homes.
Another point of concern is that the review states that there is limited data to show the long-term impact of the modification. It is vital that Whirlpool and OPSS continue to closely monitor the risk of fire in modified machines in case longer term problems arise.
Our Total Recalls campaign has led the way in championing the call to make white goods safer by reducing the risk of fire and trying to improve both the information that is made available and level of transparency on safety matters for the consumer.
We would like to see the OPSS demand manufacturers publish information that clearly explains their risk assessments of faulty goods before giving advice on whether the product is safe to use. This would mean that consumers and agencies like fire and rescue service would be able to see the full picture - manufacturers have to do the risk assessment anyway, so why not publish them?
We are also very concerned about other possible causes of fires which were not part of the review. For example, the Select Committee report published in January 2018 highlighted that there had been other problems such as an issue with door switches, which had been ‘responsible for other fires and several deaths’. Until there is better transparency on all of the known faults how can consumers use their products with confidence?