The UK government has told Whirlpool it must issue a recall on up to half a million tumble dryers which pose a fire safety risk.
Kelly Tolhurst, business minister, told the House of Commons that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had informed Whirlpool of its intentions of serve the recall notice in “unprecedented action”.
She added consumer safety is a government priority and the department had been keeping Whirlpool’s actions “under review”.
Tolhurst was addressing a question posed by MP Andrew Griffiths (Conservative) who expressed concern over whether people still had “unsafe” Whirlpool products in their homes.
The fault with the dryers has been blamed for 750 fires over an 11-year period, the government said.
Affected Whirlpool brands include Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline.
In 2015, Whirlpool began offering modifications when it became aware of a technical fault which affected 5m of its tumble dryers manufactured and sold in the UK.
Earlier this year, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) urged Whirlpool to use more “creative methods” in its consumer outreach campaign to raise awareness of the issue.
It said Whirlpool research indicated that 19% of consumers surveyed knew about the modification but did not feel compelled to act.
Whirlpool said it had been in ongoing discussions with the OPSS to agree additional measures to reach consumers who had not yet received a modification.
It said: “Safety is our number one priority and we remain committed to resolving any affected tumble dryers that have not yet been modified.
“Anyone with an affected dryer that has not been modified should unplug it and not use it until the modification has been completed.”
According to The Guardian, Rachel Reeves (Labour), who chairs the Commons BEIS committee, said: “Finally the government is at last showing some teeth and taking long overdue action on Whirlpool.”
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