Wayne Mackay of Electrical Safety First, comments on the recent debate on product safety and the Whirlpool recall in the Scottish Parliament.
“We are delighted that Scotland’s Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn MSP, supported our call for a central product recall database to be established as quickly as possible and has committed to raising the issue with the UK Government” he said.
“Electricity is responsible for almost three quarters of fires each year in Scottish homes – most of which arise from electrical products. Yet despite our repeated calls, there is still no one-stop-shop for consumers to find out about potentially lethal recalled electrical products.”
The power to regulate consumer protection is held by Westminster and in 2015, the UK Government established the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), which is co-ordinating the Whirlpool recall. However, Electrical Safety First believes the Scottish Government could use its new consumer advice and advocacy powers to tackle some of the major failings in the current recall system. In particular, the low – just 10-20% – success rate of recalled products.
“Many electrical products are recalled because they can lead to fire or electric shock – presenting a serious threat to life and property”, adds Wayne. “And with the low success rate of recalls, there could potentially be thousands of such items still in Scottish homes. A central database – which has been promised by the OPSS – where consumers could readily check if their items have been recalled, is a 21st Century safety fundamental.
However, with just a third of Scottish consumers registering their electrical products – which would allow manufacturers and retailers to contact them in the event of a recall – more needs to be done to encourage product registration. So we were extremely pleased that a number of MSPs taking part in the debate also lent their support to our forthcoming campaign on this issue.”
For more information on the Electrical Safety First charity click here.