How Dangerous Products Get into the Home
The home is where one should always feel safe, and in general that is true. But there are times when the things and consumer goods that are regularly used in the home turn out to be dangerous products that can bring serious harm to household members.
In general, US manufacturers of consumer goods follow strict guidelines for ensuring the safety of products that they produce. This is partly from a sense of corporate responsibility, partly in fear of running foul with consumer protection agencies and risking fines and other sanctions. But there are many opportunities for slips between the cup and lip. This can be in the design, in the production, or in the proper consumer information for inherently dangerous products.
In the first instance, the design of the product is inherently defective and unsafe even with proper use. This could be the improper placement of a part that could lead to mechanical injury or a hazardous chemical reaction. For example, designing a sharp edge to protrude from a kitchen appliance could cause lacerations to the user.
In the second type of product defect, it is in some error made by workers or a malfunction in a machine that could turn out dangerous products. For example, a stuck valve in a dispensing machine could introduce too much of a caustic chemical to cleaning solution, resulting in chemical burns to the user. Or perhaps an absent-minded worker forgets to flip a switch, and the space heater is missing an essential safety feature that may cause a house fire.
The last type of product defect primarily lies in the label and user manual of the product. Some consumer goods are dangerous if used or handle improperly. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to provide clear and detailed warnings about the risks of purchasing and using the product. A good example is bleach, which most households have. The label for bleach should include the poison symbol, warnings about how it should be used and stored, and instructions about what to do if it is accidentally ingested. Most people are aware of these for common items like bleach, but there are some inherently dangerous products that are not so familiar. The failure to include pertinent information about the proper use, storage and hazards of the product is considered a product defect, and renders the manufacturer liable for any injury or death it may cause.
Most people take for granted that if you buy consumer goods off the shelf, it must be safe. Unfortunately, this is not always true. If you unknowingly brought home a dangerous product that caused harm to you or someone in your family because it was defective, bring the manufacturer to book by retaining the services of a product liability lawyer.