RLA welcomes new product safety standards office
The Residential Landlords' Association (RLA) has given a qualified welcome to news of the creation of the Office for Product Safety and Standards.
Landlords, agents and tenants alike will have good reason to be pleased if products used in rental properties are safer, with the subject coming to the attention of the public and politicians after a fault in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer was identified as the probable cause of the Grenfell Tower fire last year.
The new office will start work immediately and operate on a £12 million annual budget, with the government saying it will build on the UK's "world-leading" consumer safety systems and ensure the "highest ever levels of protection" for consumers.
Its work will include supporting trading standards and also carrying out research into ways to help product manufacturers improve product marketing and identification, as well as into consumer behaviour to find ways of encouraging them to register appliances with manufacturers. There will also be a new expert safety panel.
Chris Town, RLA vice chair, said: “We welcome any moves that will improve product safety across the board and will be monitoring the work of the new body."
This pledge to observe how well the new office works indicates that the RLA is not entirely convinced that the new regime will be strict enough.
Indeed, a number of organisations have questioned if this measure is sufficient. Among these are the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and Which '
Managing Director of Which? Home Products and Services Alex Neill said: "The government has finally accepted that the UK’s product safety system needs to be fixed, but this action falls short of the full overhaul it so desperately needs.
"Consumers need an independent national body, which has real powers to protect them and get dangerous products out of their homes."
Not doing this could lead to "tragic consequences", he concluded.