Did you know that electricity causes around half of all domestic fires in the UK, with most of them arising from electrical products – including counterfeit goods and faulty items that have been recalled? In fact, more than four fires each week are caused by white goods – such as a dishwasher, washing machine or tumble-dryer – which are electrical essentials in the modern home.
To find out how to help keep constituents electrically safe, Clive went along to a ‘Register my Appliance’ drop-in event in Parliament, hosted by leading safety charity, Electrical Safety First. By registering an electrical appliance, manufacturers and retailers can easily trace and contact consumers to recall a dangerous, substandard, or faulty, item.
“It seems that every day brings another media report of a dangerous washing machine or exploding mobile phone”, explains Clive. “I discovered that, since 2007, there have been 518 recall notices issued for electrical products. However, only 10-20% of faulty goods are ever returned or repaired, which means there are potentially thousands of unsafe appliances still in use in our homes. Yet only 24% of people always register their electrical goods.”
Electrical Safety First undertook research to find out why registration rates were so low and found the three key reasons were: ‘it’s too much trouble’; ‘I forgot’; or ‘I can’t see the benefit’.
“Electricity is so fundamental to modern life, we rarely give it a second thought, yet it can kill, causes over 350,000 serious injuries each year and creates significant property damage”, notes Clive. “But disturbingly, Electrical Safety First’s research has shown that three in 10 of us are still willing to put ourselves in danger by continuing to use recalled electrical items.”
The charity has been lobbying the UK Government to establish a centrally managed product recall database, which would allow consumers to check that the appliances they are using are safe. And they are calling for a ‘voluntary mark’ to be used by manufacturers of fridges and freezers to demonstrate that they have been made from fire-resistant materials. (Refrigerators with flammable plastic backs are a serious safety concern and can cause large, rapidly developing fires).
“I strongly support Electrical Safety First’s campaign to get more people to register their electrical goods”, adds Clive. “So I will be encouraging my constituents to take a few simple steps to protect themselves and their families. This includes always buying from a reputable dealer or manufacturer, following the instructions supplied with the product and remembering to register their appliance so they can be contacted if there is a problem.”
To see if an electrical appliance you own has been recalled, visit: electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/recall
To register an appliance, visit: www.registermyappliance.org.uk/