The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed that Whirlpool uses non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to suppress reports of dryer fires. The appliance manufacturing company admits that it had recalled or fixed thousands of faulty dryer models. Even though the company has done a large-scale recall, homes in the United Kingdom still have dryers which are fire hazards.
Members of Parliament found the manufacturer's approach to safety lackluster. MPs brought up the police report which found a Whirlpool refrigerator as the culprit behind the 2017 fire in Grenfell Tower, London. The company had tried to shirk responsibility for the deaths of 72 people by claiming that the fire was caused by a lit cigarette.
It took the manufacturer two years to recognise and recall faulty dryers since the Grenfell fire. Whirlpool's "safety campaign" saw the recall of 500,000 dryers and the modification of around 1.7m products. The recalled models were Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan, and Proline dryers, which were manufactured between 2004 and 2015.
Even though the company has tried to address the fire-hazard, there still could be around 800,000 faulty, unmodified dryers in homes across the UK. However, Whirlpool representatives have assured the BEIS that they will be undertaking a modification drive to fix the remaining faulty dryers.
As per the reports shared by the manufacturer with the MPs, the modification does not entirely guarantee fire-safety. Out of the 54 dryer-fires which have been reported recently, three of them occurred on modified appliances.
Sky News shared fragments of the committee report. It stated that the committee was "astonished" by the fact that even after four years of faults being recognised in certain models, they were still in customers' homes. The committee found the replacement and repair programme to be alarmingly slow.
However, Whirlpool vice president Jeff Noel defended his company. Noel stated that the company "welcomes the BEIS report" and they are already acting on improving product safety. He claims that Whirlpool's recall of the tumble dryers is five times more successful than other product recalls in the country.
The Committee's chairwoman, Rachel Reeves, also raised concerns regarding the NDAs which gagged customers from reporting dryer fires. Reeves pointed out that the NDAs were the company's attempt at deflecting the issue instead of focusing on the safety of the customers.