Consumer and Product Safety

Product Safety

Register My Appliance – Electrical Product Safety Initiative

The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) found that just over a third of consumers register all of their appliances with the manufacturer leaving thousands of owners untraceable if a safety repair is needed*. To encourage more people to register, AMDEA have launched a new web portal, ‘register my appliance’, which provides access to the registration pages of 47 leading brands of domestic appliances and is designed to make it quicker and easier for the public to register all of their appliances. ‘Register my appliance’ is designed to provide up-to-date, accurate, contact information for owners who have acquired specific models of appliances within the last twelve years, so manufacturers can issue safety updates or repair notifications to the right homes. AMDEA members have pledged that this is purely a safety initiative and the information captured will be used exclusively for this purpose. The initiative is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and Devon & Somerset Trading Standards.

*This figure is based on a survey carried out for AMDEA in December 2014.

The Gov.uk website also has useful links for product recall information.

Sofas, Armchairs & Furniture

furniture-labelIn the past, many deadly fires were caused by dangerous materials used in sofas, armchairs and other furniture. Smouldering cigarettes resulted in infernos, while even small furniture fires could become lethal due to the toxic fumes released.

As a result, legislation was brought in to ensure only fire resistant materials are used in sofas, armchairs and other furniture. For example, foam and fillings must meet specified ignition requirements, whilst upholstery must be cigarette resistant.

By law most furniture must be labelled to certify that it is fire retardant, as well as giving an indication of its level of fire resistance.

It is illegal to sell things such as sofas and armchairs that do not have their fire safety information prominently and permanently labelled. This is particularly important if you are buying (or selling) second-hand furniture, as a lack of a label may mean you are buying a death-trap. All upholstered furniture made after 1950 must be permanently labelled as fire-resistant – and it must actually be fire resistant – or it cannot be sold, even second-hand. Find out more in our leaflet, ‘Selling safe used furniture’.

Electric Blankets

electric-safety-marksWhen choosing your electric blanket, you should buy it from a reliable source. Check that it has a UK safety standard mark (see right). This is a symbol that means the blanket has been independently tested and meets the latest UK and European safety standards. Further detail on electrical blankets can be found on the directgov archive.

Hazardous Chemicals

chemical-hazard-labelsBy law, all hazardous chemicals contained within a product must be marked as such. You may see some products marked with orange and black hazard symbols, although since 2009 a new system has been coming into use, which features black and white images within a red diamond.

You can find out more about chemical labelling, as well as the new hazard symbols, at the Understand The Label website.

Electronic Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, have quickly grown in popularity but there have been a number of reported safety issues connected to these products, particularly fire risks and the potential for children to be poisoned. More information and safety tips are available on ROSPA’s website and also on Electrical Safety First Website.

Fireworks Safety

The Department for Innovation and skills (BIS) has a list of useful resources on the safe use and sale of fireworks.

Buying Electrical Products?

Electrical Safety First have produced a handy Safe Shoppers Guide leaflet on their website to assist consumers in making wise purchases;  and further electrical safety leaflets are available to download here.

Buying chargers and Adapters

Sub-standard and counterfeit electrical chargers can be deadly, exposing the user to risk of electrical shock or causing a fire . With that in mind, it’s important to be aware of the risks when buying a plug-in charger. To help you know what to look out for, Electrical Safety First has developed useful guidance on checking the Safety of Chargers ; as well as specific guidance on the safe use of chargers for mobile phones, tablet devices, e-cigarettes and laptops.

Guide to buying second hand goods

RoSPA have useful information and important safety advice so consumers can protect themselves as much as possible when buying used products. The guidance is available here

Candle Safety

More than 50 fires a day are started by candles. Candles and decorative lights should be used safely and candles should never be left unattended. Follow Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Services safety tips whenever you use candles and decorative lights at home.