Office for Product Safety and Standards review of Whirlpool tumble dryer modification finds fire risk is low

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Whirlpool has been told to improve its risk management and communication with customers

Consumers who have had their Whirlpool tumble dryers modified can continue to use them safely, a review published today (4 April), has found.

Those with an unmodified, affected tumble dryer have been urged to unplug them and not use them until they have been modified, free of charge, by Whirlpool.

The review by the government’s Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) found that there is a low risk of harm or injury from lint fires in modified machines.

The review explored whether Whirlpool’s technical modification, designed to further reduce the risk of lint fires arising from its tumble dryers, was effective in both design and installation, while also reviewing whether Whirlpool’s consumer outreach programme was adequate.

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.

While this stage of the review is now complete, 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.

Note to editors

  • Whirlpool’s affected brands are Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan, Proline. For further information, please contact Whirlpool or visit the brands’ websites
  • the review included examination of tumble dryers and consideration of expert analysis of documents supplied by Whirlpool
  • consumers should always be vigilant and register appliances at registermyappliance.org.uk
  • consumers are encouraged to: visit the GOV.UK Product Recall – Acting on Product Safety page for up-to-date information on current recalls
  • anyone with concerns about product safety can call the Citizens Advice consumer service line on 03454 04 05 06
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