October 22, 2014

Recall: HP Fax Machines Due to Fire and Burn Hazards

Name of Product: HP fax 1040 and 1050 machines

Units: About 928,000 in the U.S. and 240,000 in Canada and Mexico

Importer: Hewlett-Packard Co., of Palo Alto, Calif.

Hazard: The fax machines can overheat due to an internal electrical component failure, posing fire and burn hazards.

Incidents/Injuries: Hewlett-Packard is aware of seven reports of fax machines overheating and catching fire, resulting in property damage, including one instance of significant property damage and one instance of a minor burn injury to a consumer’s finger. Six incidents were reported in the U.S. and one in Canada.

Description: This recall involves HP Fax 1040 and 1050 models. The HP logo and the model number are printed on the front of the fax machine. The fax machines are dark gray and measure about 11 inches high x 14 1/2 inches wide.

Sold at: Electronics, computer and camera stores nationwide, and online at www.shopping.hp.com and other websites from November 2004 through December 2011 for between $90 and $120. Some of the recalled fax machines were replacement units for a previous recall involving HP fax model 1010 in June 2008.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled fax machines, disconnect them from the electrical outlet and contact HP for a rebate on the purchase of an authorized replacement HP fax machine or a partial rebate of certain HP ink jet printers.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact HP toll-free at (888) 654-9296 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at http://www.hp.com/go/faxrecall/US-en

Recall: Kaz USA Recalls Honeywell Portable Electric Heaters Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Honeywell Surround Select Portable Electric Heaters

Units: About 19,000

Distributor: Kaz USA Inc., of Southborough, Mass.

Manufacturer: Ningbo SMAL Electrics Co. Ltd., of China

Hazard: The heater’s internal housing, including the fan, heating element and circuitry, can detach, posing a burn hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported

Description: This recall includes Honeywell Surround Select Series portable electric heaters with model numbers HZ-420, HZ-430, and HZ-440 and five-digit date codes that have 11 as the last two digits. The heaters are black or white cylinders with a handle on top. The model number is stamped into the plastic on the bottom of the heater. The date code is located on the metal prongs of the heater’s electrical plug. “Honeywell” and “Surround Heat” are printed on the front of the heaters. This heater was distributed by Kaz USA under license from Honeywell.

Sold at: Best Buy, Meijer and Walmart stores nationwide from July 2011 through December 2011 for between $50 and $70.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately unplug and stop using the heaters and contact Kaz for a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Kaz at (800) 370-8137 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s website at www.kaz.com/recall

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still interested in receiving incident or injury reports that are either directly related to this product recall or involve a different hazard with the same product. Please tell them about your experience with the product on www.saferproducts.gov

 

Recall: Goldstar and Comfort-Aire Dehumidifiers by LG Electronics

LG Electronics Tianjin Appliance Co., in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is urging consumers to check if they have recalled Goldstar or Comfort-Aire dehumidifiers. The firm is re-announcing the recall of about 98,000 of the dangerous dehumidifiers that pose a serious fire and burn hazard, and are believed to be responsible for more than one million dollars in property damage.

The power connector for the dehumidifier’s compressor can short circuit, posing fire and burn hazards to consumers and their property.

The dehumidifiers were first recalled in December 2009 following eleven incidents, including four significant fires. Since that time, the company has received sixteen additional incident reports of arcing, smoke and fire associated with the dehumidifiers, including nine significant fires. No injuries have been reported. Fires are reported to have caused more than $1 million in property damage including:

$500,000 in damage to a home in Gibsonia, Pa.
$200,000 in damage to a home in New Brighton, Minn.
$183,000 in damage to a home in Hudson, Mass.
$192,000 in damage to a home in Valparaiso, Ind.
$139,000 in damage to a home in Salem, Ohio
$129,000 in damage to a home in Brielle, N.J.
$ 95,000 in damage to a home in Philadelphia, Pa.

Because of the severity of the risks, CPSC and LG Electronics are concerned with the lack of consumer response to the recall. Only two percent of the 98,000 consumers who purchased these units have received a free repair, which means that consumers and their property remain at serious risk.

Anyone who has the recalled dehumidifiers is strongly encouraged to immediately stop using them, unplug them, and contact LG Electronics for the free repair.

The recall involves the 30 pint portable dehumidifiers sold under the Goldstar and Comfort-Aire brands. The dehumidifiers are white with a red shut-off button, controls for fan speed and humidity control, and a front-loading water bucket. “Goldstar” or “Comfort-Aire” is printed on the front. Model and serial number ranges included in this recall are listed in the table below. The model and serial numbers are located on the interior of the dehumidifier, and can be seen when the water bucket is removed.

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Goldstar GHD30Y7 611TAxx00001 through 08400
611TAxx08401 through 40600
612TAxx00001 through 20400
612TAxx21001 through 30600 Home Depot

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Goldstar DH305Y7 612TAxx00001 through 00600
701TAxx00001 through 16800
702TAxx00001 through 03000 Walmart

Brand Model No. Serial Number Range Sold at
Comfort-Aire BHD-301-C 611TA000001 through 001697
612TA000001 through 004200
701TA000001 through 000578
710TA000001 through 000599 Various retailers, including Ace
Hardware, Do It Best and Orgill Inc.

The recalled dehumidifiers were sold at The Home Depot, Walmart, Ace Hardware, Do It Best, Orgill Inc., and other retailers nationwide from January 2007 through June 2008 for between $140 and $150. They were manufactured in China.

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Refrigerator Safety Act

The horrifying death of a child trapped in an abandoned refrigerator was the motivation behind a story by the Channel 5 news in Rio Grande Valley, Texas.

The station reported finding numerous refrigerators abandoned in people’s yards. This is certainly a danger and without question should be addressed as a public safety hazard, but the investigation states that “it’s against federal law to have such an appliance just sitting around.”

I was curious about this federal law called The Refrigerator Safety Act and looked into it myself. What I found is this:

{SEC. 1.} [15 U.S.C. 1211]
It shall be unlawful for any person to introduce or deliver
for introduction into interstate commerce any household
refrigerator manufactured on or after the date this section takes
effect unless it is equipped with a device, enabling the door
there of to be opened from the inside,
which conforms with
standards prescribed pursuant to section 3.

The law was to become effective after the various standards were defined, all of which followed the Refrigerator Safety Act’s publication date of August 2, 1956. This also appears to be misunderstood in the news story.

The local station also reported that “The law says that if you’re going to keep a refrigerator around, the doors and locks must be removed.”

I could find nothing that requires the owner to alter their appliance. The manufacturer is required to make it possible to open it from inside, preventing entrapment. I don’t think a panicked, trapped child (or adult) will be able to find the release mechanism and get out. The concept is good, but in practice, I don’t think it will work. Removing the doors is a great idea, it just doesn’t appear to be legally required.

Please don’t misunderstand me – I have taped, tied and locked my empty freezer before turning it to the wall and locking it in the garage away from all children and animals. I take the safety of others very seriously, I just couldn’t find the federal law that could fine me if I didn’t take government mandated precautions. I don’t have a solution or an answer to what should or shouldn’t be governed; I’ll try to do what I believe to be right to protect others, but I like to be clear about laws.

Take a look at the law here, and see if my reading comprehension needs improving. In the meantime, please, don’t leave any appliance large enough to contain a living breathing, creature out where it will be a hazard- federal law or not.

Black & Decker Agrees to $960,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Defective Grasshog XP Weed Trimmer/Edgers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Black & Decker Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $960,000. The penalty agreement has been provisionally accepted by the Commission (5-0).

The settlement resolves CPSC staff’s allegations that Black & Decker knowingly failed to report several safety defects and hazards with the Grasshog XP immediately to CPSC, as required by federal law. CPSC staff also alleges the firm withheld information requested by CPSC staff during the course of the investigation.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.

CPSC staff alleges Black & Decker knew, on or before May 2006, that the high-powered, electric Grasshog XP GH1000 was defective and could cause harm, but failed to report this to CPSC.

CPSC staff also alleges that Black & Decker failed to provide full information about defects with the Grasshog XP as requested in May 2006. Based on the incomplete information provided at that time, CPSC closed the case. The firm did not give CPSC staff full information about the extent of Grasshog XP defects or the mounting number of incidents and injuries until October 2006.

In July 2007, Black & Decker and CPSC announced the recall of about 200,000 Grasshog XP model GH1000 trimmer/edgers. By that time, there were more than 700 reports of incidents, including 58 injuries with the Grasshog XP. The trimmer/edgers’s spool, spool cap and pieces of trimmer string can come loose during use and become projectiles. This poses a serious laceration hazard to the user and to bystanders. The trimmer/edgers also can overheat and burn consumers. Black & Decker sold the Grasshog XP weed trimmers from November 2005 through spring 2007 for about $70.

The recall was reannounced in August 2009 with an additional 100 injuries reported. CPSC urges consumers with recalled Grasshog XP trimmer/edgers to contact Black & Decker for a free repair kit.

In agreeing to the settlement, Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc. denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

Recall: Honeywell Electric Baseboard and Fan Heater Thermostats Due to Burn Hazard

Name of Product: Electric Baseboard and Fan Heater Thermostats

Units: About 77,000

Importer: Honeywell International Inc., of Morris Township, N.J.

Hazard: The thermostats can overheat, causing them to melt and smoke. This poses a burn hazard to the consumer.

Incidents/Injuries: Honeywell has received 16 reports of thermostats melting. There have been no reports of injuries.

Description: The recalled thermostats are rectangular, white, programmable thermostats used to control electric baseboard and fan heaters. “Honeywell” or “Cadet” is printed on the front of the thermostats that come in various sizes. The model number and four-digit date code are printed on a label inside the front cover of the thermostat. The model numbers listed below are included in this recall. Only models with date codes beginning with 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 or 06 are included.

Brand Name/ Model Number
Honeywell/ CT1950A1003
Honeywell/ CT1950B1002
Honeywell/ CT1957A1008
CADET/ T4700B1030
CADET/ T4700A1040
Honeywell/ T4700B1014
Honeywell/ T4700A1016

Sold at: Home improvement stores, HVAC and electrical stores, and contractors from January 2000 to December 2007 for between $80 and $300.

Manufactured in: Singapore

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled thermostats by setting the thermostats to 45 degrees or turning them off. Only models with a “B” in the model number have an off switch. Consumers should contact Honeywell for a free replacement installed by Honeywell.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Honeywell toll-free at (888) 235-7363 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT. Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at http://www.yourhome.honeywell.com/T4700

Recall – Again: Additional Retail Sales Prompt CPSC and Meijer to Reannounce Touch Point Heater Recall; Fire Hazard Posed

Name of Product: Touch Point Oscillating Ceramic Heaters

Units: About 13,000 units (6,700 originally recalled in November 2010)

Importer: Meijer Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Hazard: The oscillating mechanism in the heaters can short out, posing a fire hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Meijer has received two reports of incidents involving fires that resulted in property damage. No injuries have been reported.

Description: This announcement involves previously recalled Touch Point oscillating ceramic heaters with model number PTC-902. The grey/silver color heaters are about 10-inches tall, have a black screen across the front and controls on the top. The model number and UPC code 7-60236-58339 are printed on a metal label/plate on the bottom of the heater. Some models have an additional digit in the UPC code, making it a 12-digit code. In addition, some heaters will have a UPC code 7-13733-29222 sticker on the bottom of the packaging box.

Sold at: Meijer stores in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio from October 2009 through April 2011 for about $25. Discount retailers, dollar stores, flea markets and retail liquidators nationwide sold the heaters from November 2010 through April 2011 for various prices. The heaters were sold after the original recall was announced in November 2010.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled heaters and return them to the nearest Meijer retail store for a full refund of the purchase price. Consumers who purchased heaters from other retailers should contact Meijer to arrange a refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Meijer at (800) 927-8699 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.meijer.com

Viking Range Corporation Agrees to $450,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Defective Refrigerators

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Viking Range Corporation, of Greenwood, Miss., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $450,000. The penalty agreement has been provisionally accepted by the Commission.

The settlement resolves CPSC staff allegations that Viking Range Corporation was aware for years of a defect involving its refrigerator door hinge support mechanisms that resulted in incidents and injuries to consumers; yet the firm failed to report immediately to CPSC as required by federal law. Viking reported the safety defect to the Commission in April 2009, and the firm agreed to a recall in June 2009. Subsequent investigation conducted by CPSC staff uncovered that by that time the firm was aware of at least 10 reports of injuries involving Viking refrigerator hinge failures going back over several years.

CPSC and Viking Range Corporation announced a recall of more than 45,000 Viking refrigerators in June 2009. The hazard identified with the refrigerators is that refrigerator hinges and hardware that attach the doors to the refrigerator box can loosen, sag and detach, posing an impact injury hazard to consumers if the door detaches. Viking sold the refrigerators through appliance and specialty retailers from July 1999 through April 2006.

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors and retailers to report to CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC.

In agreeing to the settlement, Viking Range Corporation denies CPSC staff allegations as to the existence of a defect or hazard or that it violated the law.