December 2, 2015 — The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has announced a $2 million civil penalty against Philips Lighting North America for intentionally failing to report a safety hazard affecting 1.86 million compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
The EnergySaver compact fluorescent lamps (also known as “Marathon” or “Marathon Classic”) are enclosed inside a glass bulb. Unfortunately, weak glue could allow the bulb to detach from the main body of the lamp.
Falling glass can cause lacerations or damage property. From March 2007 through July 2011, at least 10 people suffered laceration injuries and there were seven reports of property damage.
When the lightbulbs were recalled in August 2011, Philips had received 700 reports of the glass coming loose or separating.
Federal law requires manufacturers to immediately report safety defects to the government. Instead, Philips tried to fix the problem by implementing multiple design changes. The company does not admit to the charges, but agreed to pay a settlement (PDF) and implement a compliance program to ensure all complaints — whether injuries occurred or not — are handled properly.
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