London Fire Brigade has joined forces with a national regulator to reduce the risk to the public from dangerous products which can cause fires.
The Brigade and the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has strengthened its existing work together by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to formalise the process of sharing information.
The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Paul Jennings, and OPSS Chief Executive Graham Russell, signed the MoU on Friday (October 9).
The OPSS was formed in 2018 and was welcomed by the Brigade following its years of campaign work for changes to make consumers safer. The Brigade has worked closely with the regulator for consumer products since its inception, including on pushing for a public database of potentially deadly faulty white goods and on its safety review of Whirlpool tumble dryers.
The MoU will allow the Brigade access to a specific area of the database, which Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive use, to enable the sharing of intelligence about product safety risk between key stakeholders.
It has also put in place a formal process for the Brigade’s current practice of notifying the OPSS of fires which could be an indication of a product safety issue - such as fires involving white goods - and allows the two organisations to work together on what changes are needed as a result.
The Brigade is also looking to work with the OPSS to explore other issues relating to product safety.
Assistant Commissioner Jennings said: “We work very hard to keep people safe and this MoU is a hugely positive step forward in our Total Recalls campaign, which has been calling on the Government to do more to make white goods safer.
“The OPSS’s remit for product safety also includes smaller electrical goods such as hair straighteners, toasters and chargers, which will support both our prevention work providing home fire safety advice to residents but also our Fire Investigation work in investigating the causes of fires and recording trends or faulty products.
“Through better information and intelligence sharing as well as improved analysis of threat and risk, we can work more effectively together to improve standards and raise awareness amongst consumers about product safety.
“There is still lots of work to be done on product safety but this closer relationship with the OPSS will help us work together to reduce the risk to the public from dangerous products which can cause fires, particularly white goods.”
Mr Russell, of the OPSS, said: “The Office for Product Safety and Standards and London Fire Brigade share a common objective in protecting public safety so it makes sense for us to work in partnership in achieving that goal.
"This memorandum of understanding underlines the partnership working that has already started and makes a firm commitment to continue and increase that support to enable focused enforcement and improve product safety.
"Together we can drive improvements in product safety and save lives.”