Electrolux is the third appliance brand to announce that its refrigeration products in the UK will be fitted with metal or aluminised backing from the end of May.
This news follows similar moves by Gorenje and Whirlpool after calls to address the issue from the London Fire Brigade and safety campaigner Lynn Faulds Wood.
The Electrolux group, which also includes the AEG and Zanussi brands, claimed that the decision was not made because of any concerns regarding the safety of its products, but to stay ahead of anticipated changes in European legislation.
Peter Spencer, managing director for UK and Ireland, said: “True to our commitment to quality, safety and a best-in-class consumer experience, we wanted to confirm the introduction of new backing material for all of our refrigeration and freezing products in the UK.
“We continually review the design of our refrigeration and freezing products – including backing materials – and in anticipation of potential future regulation updates, from the end of May 2018, all Electrolux Group fridges, freezers, and fridge-freezers produced for the UK and Ireland markets will feature a metal or aluminised-based backing.”
The group claimed to have an “excellent” safety record and to have sold more than a million refrigeration and freezing products in the UK with no major incidents involving issues with the plastic backing on its products.
Sophie Davidson, head of product line, kitchen, explained: “As part of our safety process, we focus our efforts and investments on the creation of intelligent design using the safest components. We started this process several months ago to ensure that we stay ahead of any anticipated changes to European legislation regarding the safety of refrigerating appliances. These refrigeration products are compliant to BS EN 60695-11-5:2017 and meet the new international refrigeration and freezing standard IEC60335-2-24. Our ambition has been to ensure we are compliant with what we believe will represent the global standards up to 2020.”
Hughes Electrical has announced the death of Jim Hughes (pictured).
The company said that he passed away at All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham, surrounded by his family, after losing his battle with cancer.
Mr Hughes was born in Lowestoft in 1929, and was evacuated to Derbyshire at the start of World War II and later returned to join the family firm in Lowestoft.
His father Frank Hughes founded the company in 1921, with the purpose of rewinding electric motors for the local fishing fleet and opened a shop in Tonning Street, Lowestoft, where he built and sold radios.
When Frank died in 1947, the business was taken over by his daughter Phyllis and sons Peter and Jim.
They grew the company from a single shop to a chain retail business across Norfolk and Suffolk. Their decision to buy and own outright their retail premises and concentrate on the rentals market is a formula that still underpins the company’s success today.
Jim married Beryl in 1961 and together had three sons, Andrew, Robert and Jeremy.
He retired from full-time work in 2007 to spend more time enjoying cruises and classical music.
His funeral will be held at St Benet’s Roman Catholic Church, Beccles, at 3pm on April 18. The family has asked that no flowers be sent, but anyone wishing to can make a donation to All Hallows Hospital, which can be sent care of Rosedale Funeral Home, 22 Hungate, Beccles, NR34 9TT or via the Much Loved online memorial site at www.rosedalefuneralhome.co.uk.
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.
Today’s announcement comes as part of the government’s response to the Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety. Established in October 2016 by former Consumer Minister Margot James, the group of product and fire safety experts was brought together to build on the recommendations made by Lynn Faulds Wood in her independent review into consumer product recalls.
In addition to providing support and advice for local authority Trading Standards teams, the office will co-ordinate work across local authorities where action is needed on a national scale and will ensure the UK continues to carry out appropriate border checks on imported products once the UK leaves the European Union.
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.
Other actions as part of the government’s response to the working group include:
working with the British Standards Institution to provide guidance on product recalls and corrective action
conducting research to help manufacturers and retailers develop technological solutions to product marking and identification
increasing the reach of Primary Authority to further share business, local authority and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) expertise to help protect consumers
researching consumer behaviour to identify the best way to drive up the number of consumers registering appliances with manufacturers
creating an expert panel to bring together trade associations, consumer and enforcement representatives to advise on product safety issues as they arise
According to a report by the BBC, “a million potentially deadly tumble-dryers” could still be being used in British homes, the manufacturer has admitted.
The BBC said Whirlpool told a government committee that it had continued making the models for three years after being notified that the appliances were faulty in 2012.
However, the company claimed it had “acted in consultation with Trading Standards”.
MPs on the business committee accused the firm of “failing to act quickly” when it knew that the appliances were faulty.
In particular, they criticised the firm for failing to recall the faulty machines.
Committee chair Rachel Reeves asked: “How many fires are needed for a proper recall of these tumble dryers? We have already seen a number of fires and deaths, yet in many of our homes we still have these appliances.”
Pete Moorey, head of campaigns at consumer group Which?, said Whirlpool had “ducked their responsibilities to customers”.
Ian Moverley, communications director of Whirlpool UK, argued that the company had “worked proactively to identify the safety issue and worked closely with Trading Standards to determine what action would be taken”.
However, he came under fire from the committee after being unable to answer some of the MPs’ questions.
Ms Reeves added: “Why hasn’t someone at a more senior level come in front of us to answer our reasonable questions and take responsibility for the actions of your firm?”
The scandal broke in 2015 after it emerged that Whirlpool had manufactured 5.4 million faulty machines over an 11-year period.
Dryers under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands have all been blamed for a number of UK fires, including the Shepherds Bush tower block blaze in August 2016, which saw more than 50 people flee their homes.
Last month, a fire that killed two men in Llanrwst, Conwy County, Wales in October 2014 was linked to the faulty appliances.
Assistant coroner David Lewis said “on the balance of probabilities, the fire was caused by an electrical fault in the tumble dryer in the laundry room of the flat”.
Despite a number of incidents, Whirlpool continued to claim that the machines were “safe to use” providing someone was in the property.
However, Which? threatened to bring judicial action against Trading Standards over the advice being given.
This resulted in Trading Standards instructing new guidance to Whirlpool earlier this year, which advised consumers to unplug their dryers and not use them until they had been repaired.
In a statement sent to ERT, Whirlpool said: “We continue to appeal to any remaining owners of the affected models to contact us immediately so we can modify their tumble dryers. After two years of extensive measures to raise awareness, the number of consumers coming forward has now fallen sharply. This suggests that few affected appliances remain in service.”
Story courtesy of ERT
All members are encouraged to attend the EGM on Thursday 15th March at 11am at the Mercure Shefield Parkway, Britania Way, Rotherham, S60 5BD.
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The Grenfell Tower fire started in a fridge freezer - and both the insulation and tiles used in cladding on the block failed safety tests, police have said.
Detectives are also considering bringing manslaughter charges, along with health and safety and fire safety charges, as they continue their investigation into who was responsible for the west London blazeDetective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said the Hotpoint FF175BP model had not been subject to any product recall but further tests are being carried out.
The government has ordered an immediate technical examination of the fridge involved, while Hotpoint said "words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy".
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