Below is the text of the statement made by Kelly Tolhurst, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, in the House of Commons on 17 June 2019.
The Government take the safety of electrical products very seriously. For our children, relatives and families, we all want our homes to be places of safety and security. I provided an update to the House at departmental questions last week on the most recent steps taken by the Office for Product Safety and Standards in respect of Whirlpool tumble dryers. This follows the OPSS review of the actions taken by Whirlpool in relation to its corrective action. The findings of the review were published on 4 April. The OPSS review examined in detail the modification programme put in place by Whirlpool as well as technical documents supplied by Whirlpool. The review concluded that the risk posed by modified tumble dryers is low.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards produced a list of required actions for the business to take, and Whirlpool was given 28 days to respond, outlining the actions that it would take. The response received from Whirlpool was considered to be inadequate. As a result, the OPSS has written to Whirlpool to inform the company of its intention to serve a recall notice under the provisions of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 in respect of the unmodified tumble dryers that remain in homes in the UK. As required by law, Whirlpool was given 10 days’ notice of that intention, which allowed it time to submit its views prior to the service of the recall notice or to seek arbitration in line with the provisions in the GPSR. Officials in the OPSS are reviewing Whirlpool’s response to determine whether it fully meets the requirements laid down in the draft recall notice.
At this time, all enforcement options remain on the table, including serving a formal recall notice. It would be inappropriate for me to comment further while the legal process is ongoing, but I will update the House in due course. It is important to stress that consumers who have had their affected tumble dryers modified can continue to use them and that those with an unmodified affected tumble dryer have been urged to unplug them and to contact Whirlpool. I encourage all consumers to register their appliances to ensure they receive updates on product modification and recalls. The OPSS will continue to monitor the situation closely and will take any steps it deems appropriate to ensure that consumers in the UK continue to enjoy the high levels of protection they have come to expect.