British households have been urged to check their gas hobs over faulty connectors that can pose a “serious risk” of poisoning, burns, fire, or explosion even when they are not being used.
The UK government’s product safety watchdog, Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), issued the public alert on Monday following a number of incidents including a gas explosion at a caravan park in Worcestershire in April that seriously burnt a man.
Mobile homeowners were urged to disconnect the affected models immediately while house occupants can keep using them while waiting for repairs.
The safety issue affects nine UK manufacturers including models from leading brands such as Russell Hobbs and Belling.
The manufacturers have said it’s estimated some 100,000 products could have been affected in the UK and Ireland.
In July, OPSS issued suspension notices to stop further supplies of the affected models after it found that faulty elbow joints used to connect these models to the gas supply could fail, “resulting in a significant gas leak, regardless of whether the hob is switched on and in use.”
According to Ireland’s consumer protection watchdog, the elbow joints are faulty because they “may fracture.”
The 11 affected brands from nine manufacturers include Belling, Stoves, Caple, Cata, Culina, Cooke and Lewis, Cookology, Electriq, Kitchenplus, Russell Hobbs, and Statesman.
“‘It has been identified that some gas hobs may be fitted with a connector that is at risk of failing whether the hob is in use or not,” the statement reads. “Should this occur, it could lead to a gas leak, fire, or explosion.”
‘The relevant brands are aware of a small number of reports of injuries as a result of incidents involving gas hobs in caravans,” they added.
The manufacturers have assembled a team of Gas Safe registered engineers to “visit every home containing affected hobs” to change the faulty part, but they don’t know who bought the affected products and therefore need to reply to the customers to tell them.
Those who live in permanent domestic homes can keep using the hobs before an engineer visits but were urged to maintain vigilance and call the National Gas Emergency Helpline or a Gas Safe registered installer if they smell gas or have safety concerns.
OPSS Chief Executive Graham Russell said in a statement: “Protecting people from unsafe products is always a top priority for government. The manufacturers have agreed to undertake this corrective action programme following the OPSS investigation; now we will monitor their actions to ensure they make swift progress in making these gas hobs safe for householders and holidaymakers across the UK.”