White goods appliances come with an inherent risk. We do not need to increase this risk. Bad design, poor quality, user misuse and complacency all increase this risk unnecessarily. If you haven’t experienced any incidents or know someone who has, it might seem unnecessary to read this article. The reality is that many of our white goods appliances are potentially very dangerous. Being proactive is the sensible thing to do.
Fires & explosions
Appliances and other electrical devices are routinely setting fire to themselves – and our homes. Some are exploding, injuring, and even killing people. It’s not just white goods either. Cars, mobile phones, e-cigarettes, mobility scooters, children’s toys and many other devices are catching fire or exploding.
Here are just a few white goods examples – Millions of tumble dryers have a potential fire risk, fridges and dishwashers catching fire. The door glass on some washing machines has been exploding and even washing machine inner drums have recently exploded. Even as I write this article another safety scare involving top loading washing machines in the US has just emerged Samsung recalls 2.8m washing machines in the US
This needs to stop
It’s about time someone did something about it. Governments and manufacturers have a big responsibility – but so do we the users. However, a substantial percentage of incidents (if not the majority) might have been avoided if the user had been more aware. Was the appliance used in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions? How carefully do you read yours? Do you keep an eye on appliance safety notices?
How real is the danger?
Most people are unaware of how potentially dangerous white goods appliances can be. The fires, deaths and injuries affect a relatively small percentage of the population. But look at the stats in the next paragraph.
It’s a lot bigger than you think. With a few changes to how you use your appliances and a few tips from this article you could be spared a serious fire or injury..
The facts & stats
In recent years 3 people have been killed and over 300 injured – by tumble dryers alone. Other figures published by Electrical Safety First for just a 1 year period (2011/12) show approximately 13,000 fires were caused by white goods appliances in the UK (Deaths, Injuries and Fires).
That’s 250 fires every week. These fires were also blamed for 10 deaths, and over 1,600 injuries.
Tragically, since writing this article we have had the Grenfell fire. This fire was caused by a fridge-freezer. The scary thing is that we have to leave those on, but we should at least have a fire extinguisher close at hand. As for all the other white goods appliances, we do not have to have them on when we are not in the house or in bed.
If you aren’t aware of how many appliance safety notices have been issued, and the plethora of media reports about exploding washing machines (exploding door glass danger) or appliances catching fire (and more) then you and your family are particularly vulnerable. Without a proper awareness of the potential dangers you are likely to take more risks such as leaving appliances running when everyone is out of the house or in bed. This can put your home and family (including pets) in unnecessary danger.
55% of all house fires were caused by white goods appliances according to government figures collated between 2011 & 2014 (quoted by Which? – the home appliances most likely to catch fire). This makes white goods the most potentially dangerous things to have in our homes.
Electricity is inherently dangerous – it’s a consequence of modern life
This isn’t an article looking for someone to blame. We need to put things into perspective. It’s a complex problem with multiple contributors – not least the people using the appliances. We all know that sometimes things can go wrong. We are all aware that electrical wiring and appliances in our home could cause a fire. To a great extent there’s not a lot we can do about that. But there is a lot that we can do to greatly reduce risks. So read on..
Read part 2: 8 ways to make your appliances safer
Take the time to read my comprehensive article giving 8 ways you can make your appliances more safe.