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Product safety lawyer backs call for mandatory recall of dangerous goods

A product safety lawyer who represents a number of people affected by white goods fires has backed a call from Baroness Hayter to make the recall of dangerous appliances mandatory and said that a centralised enforcement agency is needed.

Burnt washing machine

19 October 2017

The statement from opposition spokesman Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town was made during a debate in the House of Lords on Wednesday 18 October on the product recall system in the UK.
Conservative peer Baroness Neville-Rolfe began the debate by asking whether the government intend to improve the product recall system. She added that she did not think that manufacturer Whirlpool was “taking its responsibility for safety seriously enough”.
Government frontbencher Viscount Younger claimed that the government has upgraded its recall website and is currently consulting on a code of practice on recalls which was commissioned by the government from the British Standards Institution. He also responded to the call for mandatory recalls by stating that it was a matter for Trading Standards.
Jill Paterson, solicitor in Leigh Day’s product safety and consumer law team, who represents a number of people affected by appliance fires including those affected by the Shepherd’s Bush fire in August 2016 and the families of two men who died in an appliance fire in North Wales in 2014, said: 
“We welcome the Lords debate, however, the same issues are being discussed again and again, with seemingly no serious action.
“We have seen the disasters that home appliances catching fire lead to, whether that be a single private dwelling or an entire block of flats.  Faulty appliances that are capable of bursting into flames must be recalled. 
“The call from Baroness Hayter for mandatory recall of dangerous white goods would surely reduce the number of appliance fires and could potentially save lives – we would support this action.
“In order to be able to have a mandatory recall system there would need to be a centralised source of regulation which would allow us to move away from the problematic localised Trading Standards Agency which has faced huge cuts in recent years and does not have the resources to deal with this issue.
“Also, if the government committed to a centralised approach, it would ensure that those making the decisions on when products should be recalled have sufficient funding and technical expertise, like we see at the Food Standards Agency.”

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