A Commitment to Safety
Anyone familiar with the home appliance industry knows it is very competitive and that there are limits to what associations can do. But the companies through AHAM are able to legitimately seek consensus on public policy and standards proposals and issues that impact the design and manufacture of these products. Many significant achievements in recent decades providing benefits to consumers and the environment have been the result of consensus among appliance manufacturers as well as stakeholders on these issues, whether consumer or environmental organizations, Congress or regulatory bodies. Most of these achievements center around energy efficiency and environmental concerns, but none is more important than product safety.
As individual consumer product manufacturers, AHAM members have always placed the safety of their products as their top priority. And collectively as an industry segment, the companies work through AHAM to ensure the product safety system in place in the U.S. and Canada continues along the same path. Since federal law in the U.S. and Canada relies heavily on the voluntary safety standards system in both countries, AHAM and its members participate quite actively in the standards development and revision processes of UL and CSA as well as in efforts to harmonize product safety standards as much as possible in the Americas through CANENA and globally through IEC.
AHAM members feel it is critical to provide safe products that not only assist consumers but enhance their lives and provide additional time for family and other priorities. The companies are committed to demonstrating leadership in this area as an industry. This is evidenced by a safety initiative within AHAM to convene senior product engineers to proactively and collectively provide suggestions for enhancements to product safety standards in the U.S. and Canada. The initiative is strongly supported by our business leaders and has resulted in the Major Appliance Engineering Council submitting nine safety standards proposals to UL and CSA in the past twelve months.
Not only were these safety standards proposals submitted to the safety standards bodies but AHAM also met individually with all Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioners and staff on the importance of these standards improvements and urged their strong support. We held similar meetings with the corresponding federal safety officials in Health Canada. This effort is continuing as companies see its importance and value.
The proactive safety standards work by AHAM is part of a company driven effort to help educate the entire product chain including consumers about the priority manufacturers place on product safety and its inextricable link with quality. It is safe to say that home appliance manufacturers never stop working to make their products better and their customers’ lives better. There are four pillars to this commitment.
Safety. As mentioned, our top priority is to design appliances that are safe. The industry tests its products to ensure they meet or exceed safety standards and continually improve standards based on new innovations to reduce potential risks and further improve consumer safety. Nearly 100% of consumers feel that they know how to operate their appliances safely and 93% believe home appliance manufacturers do a good job in providing safe and quality appliances to Americans, according to a recent AHAM survey.
Quality. We know how much consumers rely on our products to make their lives easier and more comfortable, so we push ourselves to make appliances that last longer and perform better. Advanced technologies help today’s home appliances perform faster, smarter and more efficiently.
Support and Satisfaction. We invest heavily in education and customer service to prevent injury and optimize product performance and value for consumers. When appropriate, voluntary recalls or service bulletins are put in place.
Innovation. We relentlessly pursue ideas for making appliances that save time, effort, water and energy, as well as enhance style, convenience and ease of use. A recent AHAM survey found that 89% of Americans are impressed with how innovative home appliances are these days. Half say they like to show off the features of their newest home appliances. Some of the most recent, noteworthy industry innovations include zone cooling and air purification for refrigerators, smart grid appliances, new finishes and styles. Many home appliances today are designed to do the thinking for you—working when you want them to, at the speeds/cycles you want.
Competition assures appliance manufacturers will continue to strive to delight consumers. Commitment to safety is an industry wide pledge of the AHAM and its membership.