WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Vornado Air LLC, of Andover, Kansas, has agreed to pay a $7.5 million civil penalty. The settlement resolves CPSC’s charges that Vornado failed to immediately report to CPSC, as required by law, that its VH101 Personal Vortex electric space heater contained a defect or created an unreasonable risk of serious injury.
CPSC charged that Vornado had information that the heater could overheat and catch fire, posing a risk of burn injury or death. Vornado investigated multiple consumer reports of fire, but the firm did not immediately notify CPSC of the defect or risk as required by law. In January 2018, Vornado reported to CPSC that a 90-year-old Minnesota man had died in a fire involving a Vornado space heater that was suspected to be a VH101 heater.
In 2008, the Vornado Trust paid a $500,000 civil penalty to CPSC on behalf of Vornado’s predecessor, Vornado Air Circulation Systems Inc., after it failed to immediately report overheating and fire incidents involving space heaters between 1993 and 2004.
The settlement agreement requires Vornado to maintain a compliance program to ensure that the company complies with the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and to maintain internal controls designed to ensure timely, complete, and accurate reporting to CPSC. Vornado has also agreed to file annual reports regarding the compliance program and system of internal controls for a period of three years.
The settlement agreement has been accepted provisionally by the Commission by a 4-0-1 vote.
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related 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 injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
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