Warning on fridge-freezer fire risk after tower block blaze Copy

London Fire Brigade has issued an urgent warning about the fire risk of certain fridge-freezers, following confirmation that a blaze last week in a London tower block was caused by a faulty appliance.

Beko fridge-freezers manufactured between January 2000 and October 2006 are at the centre of the safety warning, and it is thought as many as 500,000 could be in use. London Fire Brigade say there have been 20 fires in the capital alone involving the fridge freezers since 2008, which have seen one person die and 15 people injured.

Owners of the appliances are asked to contact Beko on 0800 009 4837. model .The same recall applies to a model badged LEC fridge freezer.

Last week’s fire, which was originally thought to have been caused by a lightning strike, damaged part of a flat on the 17th floor of a tower block in south London.

Over the last three years, fire investigators have been working to establish the link between a faulty defroster timer switch on the appliances and a number of house fires. The problem occurs when water gets into the defrost timer switch in the fridge freezer, which can lead to an electrical malfunction resulting in plastic components and other highly flammable insulation inside the appliance catching fire.

The fire service formally alerted Beko to the problem in June 2010, and the manufacturer has been trying to locate the products to remedy the fault.

“Any fire can be lethal, but the London Fire Brigade is particularly concerned about this because fires involving any sort of fridge-freezer develop rapidly and produce an enormous amount of toxic smoke Expert fire investigators have had to work for a long time to confidently establish these faulty fridge-freezers as the cause of a number of serious fires.

Related Course: Fire Safety & Fire Marshall Training

Care home sentenced after resident’s bed rail death

A Llangollen nursing home has been fined following the suffocation of an elderly woman after she become trapped between her mattress and bed rails intended to stop her falling.

Elizabeth Roberts, 89, was found suffocated in her room at the Headlands Nursing Home on 30 August. Her upper body had slid down to the floor between the bed mattresses and bed rails where she had become trapped.

Mold Crown Court heard Mrs Roberts had suffered from a previous entrapment incident three weeks before but no alternative bedding arrangements had been made.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation revealed care staff at the home engaged bedside rails after Mrs Roberts repeatedly fell from her bed, however employees had not been provided with up-to-date training on the safe use of bed rails, in particular the risk of entrapment created.

HSE found the home also failed to complete a suitable and sufficient risk assessment on the use of bed rails for Mrs Roberts, which should have identified that they may have been unsuitable in her case. There was no company policy on the safe use of bed rails and no system for routine inspection, monitoring and maintenance.

Deevale Homecare and Services Ltd of Grosvenor Road, Wrexham, who own and operate the Headlands Nursing Home in Llangollen, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and Regulation 3 (1) Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999. They were sentenced at Mold Crown Court today and fined £70,000, with £21,818.56p in costs.

HSE commented: “This is a terrible incident and one that could have been easily avoided.

“It is essential that home owners and care staff consider whether bed rails are the most appropriate method of preventing a patient falling from bed.

“There are many alternative options such as the use of low profile beds, which should be considered. When using bed rails, homes should take adequate steps to assess the potential risks created. This should consider the bed occupant as well as the set up of the bedding arrangements.

“To assist home owners, free guidance on the safe use of bed rails has been made widely available for a number of years. This home could have taken the simple steps provided in the guidance to train care staff and implement a safe system of routine inspection and maintenance at their home. Had this occurred at the Headland Nursing Home, Mrs Roberts’ death could have been prevented.”