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Posted on May 1, 2020

What Lynn Faulds Woods did for electrical safety

Lynn Faulds Wood TV Present, Journalist and Campaigner died sadly recently from a stroke.

If you were a child of the 80s and 90s, you would remember this ladies contributions on Watchdog with her husband John Stapleton but if you can’t recall or not old enough to know her, you still have a lot to be grateful to her for.

She campaigned passionately for many consumer rights over the years but when it came to the safety of electronic goods, these had the most lasting impact that we see in items we use everyday and take for granted.

“It’s amazing how many dangers there were in our everyday lives. Then companies used to say that safety didn’t sell – which could be why there were so many potential death-traps in our homes.” Lynn Faulds Wood

Plugs
Could you imagine that there was a time when any electrical item you purchased in the early 1980 and 1990s was not already fitted with a plug…. you had to fit your own. Back in the day when we were more practical, this was for some, a simple enough task but not for everyone. Every year 30 people died and 200 sustained injuries from incorrectly wired plugs. After a successful campaign led by Lynn and Watchdog, legislation passed that required all electrical goods to be fitted with plugs.

Kettles
Another Watchdog campaign led to manufacturers selling kettles with shorter leads. Previously kettles came with too long a cable that often hung down over the edge of kitchen cabinets, within reach of small children and risked being scalded by hot water if they pulled them. I remember the awful images of lifetime scars of those that did.

Following the campaign manufacturers introduced kettles with detachable bases, which didn’t need long leads, as well as lockable lids.

Irons
Thanks to a campaign launched by the programme, irons sold in the UK are now fitted with a thermal cut-off which turns the device off when it reaches a certain temperature. This prevents the devices from overheating and catching fire.

White Goods – microwaves, cookers and tumble dryers
40 years ago, Watchdog viewers were reporting microwave fires caused by the use of cheaper plastic (instead of glass and metal) and inaccurate cooker controls.

Watchdog’s investigations found that some cookers were being sold with dangerous design flaws. Glass in the cooker door was placed next to metal without being insulated by rubber seals. Glass would rub against the door frame, weakening it so that when the cooker got hot, the glass exploded.

After several incidents in which small children had climbed into tumble dryers before the machine was switched on, Watchdog campaigned for every tumble dryer sold in the UK to be equipped with an automatic cut-out.

Watchdog’s successful campaigns led to the redesign or recalls in the UK of all the above goods to ensure the safety for us the consumers.


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