Electrical Safety First Responds to BEIS report on The Safety of Electrical Goods in the UK

16 January 2018

Electrical Safety First welcomes today’s BEIS Committee report and supports their call for Government and industry action over the ongoing risk from faulty electrical goods. Martyn Allen, Technical Director at Electrical Safety First commented:

“The consistently high number of fires caused by faulty appliances is evidence of a flawed and inadequate UK product safety system.  Faulty recalled appliances are responsible for significant numbers of domestic fires and a number of tragic fatalities. In 2016/17 there were 4,120 house fires caused by faulty appliances, resulting in 423 fatalities and casualties[1].

Since 2007 there have been 516 recall notices issued for electrical products in the UK[2]. Given the low success rate of product recalls, and that only 10-20% of faulty goods are ever returned or repaired, there are potentially millions of dangerous electrical goods still in people’s homes.  

 Whirlpool’s response to the safety issue around their tumble dryers, along with high-profile fires such as Grenfell, Shepherd’s Bush Green and Lakanal House have highlighted flaws in the UK’s product safety regime, which is inadequate and poorly resourced. Electrical Safety First agrees that serious consideration must now be given by the government to establishing a single national product safety agency, something which the Charity has lobbied hard for and that was recommended in an independent review on product safety, led by Lynn Faulds Wood nearly two years ago.

Without a centralised, publically available database that lists all UK product recalls, it is extremely difficult for consumers to actually know if the products they are using are safe. With the limited success of recalls and with over 500 electrical items recalled in the last ten years, it is clear the current system for product recalls is failing consumers and needs improvement.

Electrical Safety First also supports the report’s recommendation for manufacturers of plastic backed fridge freezers to use safer materials, as they pose a significant fire risk and can cause large, rapidly developing fires. Fridge freezers with non-combustible backs provide better containment of fire caused from within the product or from something else igniting it.”


Editors’ Notes

  • Electrical Safety First is a UK Charity dedicated to reducing and preventing damage, injuries and death caused by electricity. More information can be found at electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk


[1] In 2016/17 there were 4,120 fires caused by faulty appliances and leads and 423 fatalities/casualties according to Home Office stats. Accessible at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables#incident-level-datasets

[2] Between January 2007 – December 2017 there were 516 recall notices issued for electrical products in the UK. Accessible at: /product-recalls/