Vestel launches new safety initiative for cooling appliances

Turkish OEM manufacturer Vestel has offered all of its retail partners the opportunity to update the back panels on its cooling ranges from aluminium foil to non-combustible metal.

The supplier is promising the metal back update at cost price as a further incentive to retailers.

This offer follows recent calls from the London Fire Brigade for manufacturers to phase out the use of plastic backing on cooling appliances, as they can aid in spreading the breakout of a fire.

Fire chiefs have been urging manufacturers to stop using plastic backs in light of a number of recent high-profile appliance fires that resulted in loss of life.

The firm said it had already switched 90 per cent of its production to fire-resistant aluminium foil back panelling ahead of forthcoming EU safety legislation, which it said was a safer alternative to petroleum-based polypropylene, which cannot prevent the spread of fire.

Vestel added that the metal-backed design option was already being produced for many Vestel customers, which offers fireproof insulation for the electrical components that can be found at the back of all refrigeration models.

Head of OEM white goods, Matthew Riley, commented: “For us, this was a really important move to make. We’re deeply committed to product safety and recognise that, in the case of cooling, it’s become a particularly high-profile issue. We have already committed to producing aluminium foil-backed cooling, which can extinguish an applied flame within 30 seconds. The next logical step for us is to make it as easy as possible for our retailers to set even higher standards of product safety with our metal back panelling. To this end, we’re not setting any conditions or time limits on our offer. We’ll continue to raise industry standards by supporting and working with our retailers.”

Electrical Safety First technical director Martyn Allen commented: “We are obviously always interested in any new safety development and are very much aware of white goods safety, which we are also addressing through our work with a range of standards committees. Our concern, however, has focused on issues around core electrical components, where the risk of fire can arise, rather than the fire containment offered by updated back panelling of fridges, etc.”