A Few Thoughts On Safety Recalls

Life Safety Equipment Product Safety Recalls

A Few Thoughts On Safety Recalls

DMM Wales has recently announced a recall for some products which integrate their compact swivel design. Why do recalls happen? In general, safety recalls occur when a product could potentially lead to a situation resulting in a substantial risk of injury. This could result from a problem in the initial design and construction of the product or it could be from a problem which develops over time while the product is in use.

There are risks associated with product design, development, and production. A manufacturer does their best to reduce these risks but there is always a potential for unforeseen issues to occur. When these problems occur, it is up to the manufacturer to determine the best course of action in response to the situation. In this case, DMM has taken steps to mitigate the risk by issuing a safety notice to immediately halt use of the product while the issue is resolved.

These recalls should not be viewed in a negative light. On the contrary recalls show the manufacturer is taking responsibility for the products they produce.

Every manufacturer has issues with product production. Ideally these problems are taken care of through the manufacturer’s quality assurance program. Although rare, these issues are sometimes noticed after a product has already left a manufacturer. Occasionally requests are sent out to distributors and dealers to inspect equipment for potential issues. These requests happen privately without public notice. If it is found that these problems are serious enough, the end user is notified resulting in a publicly announced request for inspection or recall.

Although these recalls cause financial and public relations issues, they also build trust between the manufacturer and the community.

Every well known manufacturer of life safety equipment that we are familiar with has issued safety notices and has had public recalls. This is a normal part of a product’s life cycle.

In contrast, how many recalls have been announced by off brand manufacturers? Have these manufacturers managed to create a perfect product devoid of safety concerns? If there is a safety concern how does one know the equipment is subject to a safety recall? If a safety issue is discovered with one of these products, what is the next step? How severe is it? Does it only effect certain lot numbers? How do you know? Will a recall even be announced? If the contact information for the manufacturer is not available, how does someone check?

These are very real concerns and why we only use equipment which can be traced back to a known manufacturer with publicly available contact information. This is especially true as manufacturing processes become more complex with newer high-tech equipment.

Given the numerous ways rope equipment is used, often outside of a manufacturer’s recommendations, we are much more cautious of manufacturers who have never had a product recall than those who have. Especially with the costs involved, we applaud companies who announce public recalls and encourage everyone to support them and their efforts to keep users safe from potential harm.

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