In an effort to prevent injuries and deaths from the use of gel fuels in firepots, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to publish an advance notice of proposed rulemaking meant to improve the safety of these products.
The gel fuel can unexpectedly ignite and splash onto users if poured into an already-lit firepot, posing a flash fire and burn hazard.
The move was prompted by a number of injuries and deaths related to these products. The CPSC is aware of 65 incidents between April 2010 and September 2011, which resulted in two deaths and at least 34 hospitalizations due to second and third degree burns to the face, chest, hands, arms or legs.
The public has 60 days from the time of publication of the proposed rules to comment on the risks of injury associated with gel fuels and firepots. Comments can be submitted at www.regulations.gov.
In addition, publishing the proposed rules alerts the industry to the possibility of federal standards being introduced for the labeling or performance of a product, or a ban if no adequate standard can be found. The process also gives manufacturers a chance to present evidence to show they have set up their own effective industry standards.
The CPSC launched an investigation into firepot burn accidents this past June. Several announcements of recalled gel fuels followed, which included more than 3.6 million bottles from various manufacturers.