The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has published its review into the safety of Whirlpool tumble dryers following a series of fires caused by the appliances.
The report found that customers who have had their dryers modified by the company can continue to use them safely, as there is a low risk of harm or injury from lint fires in modified machines.
However, those with an unmodified, affected tumble dryer have been urged to unplug them and not use them until they have been modified by Whirlpool – a service offered free of charge.
The affected Whirlpool brands are Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline.
As well as investigating the efficacy of the modifications, the review also looked into whether Whirlpool’s consumer outreach programme was adequate.
In the wake of its findings, OPSS has published specific requirements for Whirlpool to act on and issued a Decision Letter telling Whirlpool that the company must:
- improve its management of risk;
- set up a more rigorous system of quality assurance to ensure modifications are correctly installed; and
- reach affected consumers in more creative ways to minimise the risk of faulty machines still being in people’s homes.
OPSS will continue to scrutinise Whirlpool’s actions against these requirements.
Consumer Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, said: “Our number one priority is to keep consumers safe.
“We are taking action now to ensure Whirlpool improves its communication and outreach to those customers it has not yet reached as well as improving its management of risk. We will keep Whirlpool’s actions under review to ensure they respond effectively and consumers are kept safe.
“We appreciate the efforts of Which? and other active campaigners to bring this issue to the attention of consumers and are committed to working with them to ensure the safety of products sold in the UK.
“We encourage all consumers to register their appliances to ensure they receive updates on product modifications and recalls.
“All consumers should always follow manufacturers’ instructions, including thoroughly and regularly clearing out the lint tray of tumble dryers.”