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Brunel in calls to overhaul UK product recall


The taskforce behind today’s major report revealing millions could be at risk from faulty electrical items in homes is taking advice from Brunel’s Deputy Vice Chancellor.

Professor Geoff Rodgers speaks for UK universities on the government’s Working Group on Product Recalls and Safety, brought together after a spate of serious fires.

The group today makes a raft of recommendations to tighten the UK’s product safety system. It comes weeks after claims the Grenfell Tower fire, thought to have killed more than 80 people, was started by a faulty fridge freezer.

“Potentially millions of recalled electrical items are being used,” said Prof Rodgers, Brunel’s research and innovation leader.

The physicist is looking into how the higher education sector can help through developing design, process and new technology. “That could be through design innovations or perhaps fitting tracking devices to products, for instance,” he said. “Or it could be looking at changes to process because how firms approach product recall varies vastly as does how the public respond to recall alerts. Many take no notice and carry on using the products.”

The group, whose other experts work in fire safety, trading standards experts and consumer safety today calls for:

•        A central body to co-ordinate national recall programmes

•        A Code of Practice for businesses and regulators 

•        Changes to the way fire and accident data is collected and used

•        Stronger compliance and recalls. 

 The group was set up in October after a blaze in a block of flats in Shepherds Bush was linked to a tumble dryer. Its report was due before Theresa May called the snap election, then delayed until now. At an emergency meeting after the Grenfell fire, it decided to make a set of more detailed recommendations. That report is due in the Autumn.

“At that time, none of us could imagine the tragic events at Grenfell Tower we would see unfold less than a year later, said Chair, Neil Gibbins. “The remit set for the Working Group, and our recommendations and actions have never been more relevant or important than now.”

Reported by:

Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
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