Nick Smith MP for Blaenau Gwent has call for urgent action to protect people who may have tumble dryers with a “fatal fault” in their homes.
Last year, Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee published a report into Whirlpool dryers with a dangerous defect which causes fires when fluff builds up and ignites after touching the dryer’s heating element.
In May 2018 the new Government Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) opened a review into action taken by Whirlpool – which owns brands such as Hotpoint, Indesit, Proline, Creda and Swan – to modify dryers with the flaw and alert consumers.
Last month the OPSS published its findings, concluding that the level of risk for fires from dryers modified to correct the fault was “low”.
Mr Smith has written to BEIS Secretary of State Greg Clark MP about his concerns over this report, as well as those raised by constituents and consumer watchdog Which?
In his letter Mr Smith notes that 750 fires involving the dryers concerned have been reported since 2004, and that the BEIS Committee report believes the total number of appliances affected could total one million.
Mr Smith said: “These figures are deeply concerning and the OPSS response to date does not appear to have demonstrated a sufficient grasp of either the scale of the problem or its urgency.
“I would therefore call on the Government to require the OPSS to conduct a further, intensive review, which will explicitly include interviews with affected customers and evaluate whether technical modifications by Whirlpool have been successful in preventing the risks to consumers.”
In the letter Mr Smith also calls for the Government to take “urgent steps” to contact customers who may be at risk to provide them with advice and assistance.
Mr Smith said: “I would advise anyone who is concerned that they may have a faulty tumble dryer in their home to visit the Which? website to find out more about their rights and most importantly stay safe by checking whether they have a potentially faulty dryer in their home.”