For full functionality of this page it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser When a hobby becomes dangerous

When a hobby becomes dangerous

By Mark Buckingham, Recall Consultant

March was another worrying month for owners of hoverboards, with 20 recalls over four weeks listed on Safety Gate – Europe’s comprehensive database of recalls. Since the start of 2019, there have been 28 hoverboard recalls – with March showing a huge jump in recalls as the problem continues to make headlines. 

It adds to a trend that’s been gaining momentum since the novelty balance scooters burst onto the shopping lists of Europe’s tech-mad consumers in 2018 – and it all comes back to the pace of the technology being created – and regulators simply unable to keep up with it.

All the recalls for hoverboards in March are related to burns, fire or electric shock risk, with charging circuits generally having no cut-off switch and thus leading to the risk of the battery overheating.

It’s not the first time that hobby equipment has been recalled, but it is one of the largest in scale. To put into context, in March there were only two other items – a bicycle with a frame defect and a vehicle scissor lift with injury risk – recalled from this category.

Looking at items linked to leisure enjoyment, an electric scooter faced recall due to injury risk in the form of the foot board of the scooter not being sufficiently strong, causing potential for breaking while the scooter is in use.

A chemical risk dealt a blow to football fans, as a football was found to contain phthalate, which may harm the health of children, causing possible damage to their reproductive system. Understandably, a recall of this nature is worrying for parents and it’s something that any company wants to avoid at all costs. However, recalls of this nature are rare and risks are negligible if correct planning and recall processes are in place to safely handle any situation. As always, preparation for any eventuality is key.

The same week, the recall of a fitness mat caused concern to fitness fans as a safety alert was made due to the presence of short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs) – which are suspected human carcinogens. Prolonged exposure to them through the skin may cause cancer.

Further hobby-related recalls include four instances of mountain climbing helmets issuing alerts due to insufficient resistance to penetration, resulting in a risk of serious head injuries should the wearer impact on rock.

Two climbing harnesses and one climbing rope have also been recalled since the beginning of the year – all relating to inadequate strength – increasing the risk of breakage and the subsequent falling of the user. When there is immediate threat to human life, it’s critical to get the message out instantly, through the correct communication channels. Stericycle is an expert in crisis recall response, and can advise thorough plans to ensure the worst is avoided.

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