A Proactive Safety Approach

Appliance manufacturers make significant investments in product safety, and any incident that calls product safety into question can have serious repercussions for appliance manufacturers. It can cause customers to lose trust in a product or brand and lead to costly fines or product recalls.

The best time to identify safety concerns is before something goes wrong.

That’s the focus of AHAM’s proactive approach to product safety. Whether it is revising UL’s standards on pressurized brewing to keep up with innovations, working with standards-development organizations to put the pieces in place for the transition to newer refrigerants, or improving the safety of lithium ion battery applications. AHAM drives discussions on appliance safety standards, and its members have a seat at the table.

Since 2012, AHAM’s three regular divisions have been in a proactive mode to upgrade the product safety standards in North America by submitting numerous proposals to both UL and CSA. Over the past several years, AHAM and its member companies have submitted 47 major appliance and 20 portable appliance proposals. The proposals have covered a range of appliances, including:

  • Coffee makers
  • Cooktops
  • Clothes dryers
  • Clothes washers
  • Dishwashers
  • Toasters
  • Blenders
  • Countertop ovens
  • Microwave ovens
  • Other small appliances

Some of these proposals are direct countermeasures from events that drove incidents that resulted in over 10 million recalled products. Other proposals are aimed at making products safer to reduce the likelihood of incidents.

Working with its Special Engineering Task Forces, which consist of professionals from AHAM member companies, AHAM stays ahead of product safety issues so they can be addressed before something goes wrong. AHAM member companies play a critical role in developing, updating and revising safety standards to ensure they keep pace with innovations.

AHAM’s proactive efforts have generated a tremendous amount of goodwill and recognition within the standards bodies. UL and CSA have publically noted AHAM’s productivity and the Consumer Product Safety Commission uses the term ”partner” when it talks about AHAM and CPSC working to reduce future events in appliances.

AHAM works with the CPSC to continually improve safety standards in the U.S. Since 2015, AHAM has made more than 60 proposals to standards-development organizations like UL and CSA for improvements to safety standards for major, portable and floor care appliances.

Most organizations do not engage with the CPSC until after something has gone wrong. AHAM has forged close ties with the commission, and, along the way, has earned the reputation as a model organization for product safety enhancements.