Labour demands action on increase of high-rise fires caused by faulty appliances

Labour has demanded urgent action on the rising number of fires caused by faulty appliances in high rise blocks.

Three years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster, analysis of government figures published this month found an increase in the number of fires in tower blocks caused by faulty tumble dryers and fridges.

Sarah Jones, Shadow Minister for Policing and Fire, has written to Security Minister James Brokenshire, calling for “swift improvement” in recalling faulty machines.

“If quicker action is not taken, the Government risks letting down those who expected things to change after Grenfell,” she wrote.

“People must be reassured they are not living with the possibility of faulty appliances that could risk setting their homes on fire.”

Faulty fridge wiring was identified as the probably cause of the Grenfell Tower blaze, which caused the deaths of 72 people in 2017.




An analysis from the charity Electrical Safety First earlier this month found nearly a quarter of accidental electrical fires in high-rise buildings was caused by faulty appliances, leads or fuel supplies.

The number of accidental electrical fires in tower blocks has risen in each of the last three years, from 301 to 2016-17 to 355 in 2018-19.

And more than 500,000 tumble driers manufactured by Whirlpool have been recalled over a safety issue which could cause fire.

But Ms Jones said only 42% have been registered to the recall programme.

In her letter, she wrote: “Given the very real risk to people’s lives and homes from faulty machines, the slow progress in recalling them needs swift improvement.”

Among changes proposed to address the problem are a single, government backed, publicly accessible database of product recalls, making risk assessments mandatory to publish by consumers, improving trading standards and information sharing on faulty white goods. 

Ms Jones added: “I urge you to work with colleagues in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Office for Product Safety Standards to increase efforts to speed up these recalls, so that people can be reassured they are not living with the possibility of appliances that could risk setting their homes on fire.”

source.



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