Hair Dryer Electrocution & Death Lawsuits
Hair Dryer Electrocutions and Deaths – Lack of GFI
History of the Hair Dryer Defect
Since the early 1970’s hundreds of electrocutions can be directly blamed on hand held hair dryers falling into or being pulled in a bathtub of water. However, the numbers have dramatically decreased since the new Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards requiring ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s) on each hair dryer.
CPSC – Hair Dryer Immersion Problem
by CPSC to improve the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard for hair dryers
a substantial impact. By March 1980, products were required to have a pictorial
warning against the use of hair dryers in bathtubs included in the Use and Care
Instructions and on a label permanently attached to the cord. On May 1,1985,
hair dryers were required to have a polarized attachment plug and to include
literature about the need to install ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI’s)
in bathrooms. In October 1987, hair dryers were required to provide protection
against electrocutions when the product was immersed in recommendations to UL
that protection be required in both the "on" and "off" positions.
This requirement became effective on January 1, 1991.
Staff estimated that with protection only in the "off" position, about 8 deaths per year to children under 10 would continue to occur. With protection extended to the "on" position, the average number of deaths for 1990-1992 dropped to four per year, and in 1992 there were only two electrocution deaths involving hair dryers. Around the year 2000, CPSC expects no electrocutions due to hair dryer immersions when all older, less safe hair dryers are replaced by the newer, complying models.
The ability to provide complete protection for hand-held hair dryers was the direct result of CPSC research into miniature GFCI’s that demonstrated the feasibility of building electrocution protection into these products. A leading manufacturer further developed the technology so that now all hand-held hair dryers are completely protected using an inexpensive component. See Patents 4,464,582 : 4,712,154 & 5,013,891
Liability Against Manufacturers of Defective Hair Dryers:
Many Manufacturers chose to ignore recommendations made by CPSC and did not implement the industry standard requiring hand held hair dryers provide full immersion protection when in either the "on" or "off" position. As a result of these manufacturers refusal to comply with the voluntary industry standard, many have been electrocuted or suffered severe injuries needlessly.
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