Consumer Policy Update:Written statement - HCWS684

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 15 May 2018
Made by: Andrew Griffiths (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)

Consumer Policy Update

I am today publishing the department’s investigation into the safety of the Hotpoint fridge freezer model FF175B which police identified as being involved in the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June last year.

The safety of consumers is a key priority for this Government, which is why my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ordered an immediate examination of the appliance by independent technical experts. Within days the Department had undertaken a preliminary assessment and issued advice following a meeting convened by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser including public health advisers. The advice to owners of the model concerned – Hotpoint FF175B – was that they could continue to use their fridge freezer as the public health risk of advising not to use the appliance was judged to be of greater risk. Owners were advised to contact the manufacturer to register their appliance so they could be contacted directly should any further action be necessary.

At the same time the Department began a thorough and comprehensive product safety investigation into the model to identify whether there was any wider safety risk to the public. BEIS experts conducted a product safety investigation, examining the Grenfell Tower appliance, commissioning independent examination and testing of example FF175B appliances, undertaking analysis of data and documents and risk assessment. Whirlpool has co-operated with the investigation and has undertaken its own investigation in line with its legal obligations as the manufacturer of the product.

The full investigation has now concluded. It confirmed the advice that was given to consumers in June, that there is no need for a product recall or for any other corrective action for this model, and that consumers can continue using the product as normal. The investigation concluded that the product met legal safety requirements and that the risk associated with the model is assessed as low. The findings have been confirmed by separate and independent tests, under the supervision of the BEIS Chief Scientific Advisor, carried out by scientific and technical experts including the Health and Safety Executive and Intertek.

We have shared the results of our investigation with the Metropolitan Police, the Grenfell Inquiry, and, of course, with the Grenfell residents through appropriate channels.

The Government continues to place huge importance on consumer safety. This is why, on January 21, 2018, we accepted all the recommendations made by the Working Group on Product Recall and Safety to upgrade the UK system of product safety, and we established the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

A copy of the risk statement and technical reports relating to the investigation have been published and copies of the documents have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS663

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