The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Icon Health & Fitness Inc., of Logan, Utah, has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $500,000. The penalty resolves a lawsuit filed against Icon in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland last May. The government charged Icon with failing to report serious safety hazards associated with home exercise equipment. The settlement also requires Icon to establish internal recordkeeping and monitoring systems to keep track of information about product safety hazards.
Under the law, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers must immediately report product defects to CPSC. CPSC and the Department of Justice charged that Icon failed to report dozens of injuries caused by a defect in its Weider and Weslo exercise gliders, including fractured vertebrae and herniated discs. Some injuries resulted in partial disability, including a compression injury to a woman's spine that left her 50 percent permanently disabled. By the time the company responded to an inquiry from the CPSC, it knew of at least 86 incidents and 68 injuries to consumers from the gliders which had taken place over an 18- month period. Icon recalled the gliders in April 1999 in cooperation with CPSC.
The Department of Justice's Office of Consumer Litigation, on behalf of CPSC, sued Wal-Mart in the same lawsuit. The case against Wal-Mart is proceeding. Wal-Mart is charged with selling many of the gliders and failing to report the defect, despite knowing of many incidents and injuries to consumers. At least twenty-nine of the incidents occurred in Wal-Mart stores while consumers were trying out the gliders.
"Only if firms who sell unsafe consumer products report quickly to CPSC can we quickly recall them and prevent injuries to consumers," said Acting Chairman Thomas Moore.
"This penalty should send a strong message to firms to comply with our reporting requirements."
Consumers should stop using the Weider Shape Glider (Model WECR 4306), the Weider Power Glide (Model WECR 4406), and the Weslo Shape Trainer (Model WLCR 4356) immediately and call or write Icon Health & Fitness for a free repair kit. Consumers can call Icon at (800) 999- 3756 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. MT Monday through Friday, or write to Icon Health & Fitness Inc., Attn: Customer Service Department, 1550 South 1000 West, Logan, Utah 84321-8206. Consumers also can go to the customer service page of their web site at www.weiderfitness.com or www.weslo.com.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 40 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
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