December 2, 2015 — Philips Lighting North America has agreed to pay a $2 million civil penalty to settle allegations that the company knowingly concealed a safety defect on compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the settlement (PDF) on November 24.
Between March 2007 and July 2011, Philips sold about 1.86 million EnergySaver (also known as “Marathon” or “Marathon Classic”) compact fluorescent lamps enclosed inside glass envelopes.
Unfortunately, the glue that attaches the glass outer envelope to the body of the lamp can fail, allowing the glass envelope to fall and hit people or objects below, posing a laceration hazard.
Philips received over 700 reports of the glass envelopes separating or loosening, including 10 reports of lacerations and 7 reports of property damage. Instead of notifying the CPSC, as is required by law, Philips implemented multiple design changes to fix the problem. The lamps were recalled in August 2011.
Phillips does not admit to the agency’s charges. However, in addition to the $2 million penalty, Philips has agreed to implement a compliance program to ensure that all reports and complaints, whether they involve injuries or not, are forwarded to the company’s responsible employees.
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