California Space Heaters, Inc.
November 30, 2010
There is a fine line between how much safety a corporation should provide to the consumer regarding its products vs. how much responsibility of safety should fall on the average consumer. Take, for instance, the all too familiar McDonald’s coffee episode. Does McDonald’s have a responsibility to its customers to ensure the coffee isn’t hot enough to scald if spilled upon one’s lap? Or should the customer be held responsible for their own safety in regards to common sense judgment? This is what California Space Heaters, Inc. (CSH) must consider when deciding exactly which products to launch.
Kerosene heaters are often times used in shops and garages as well as inside homes. They are quite a bit heavier than standard electric space heaters, which tip over easily. Because of their weight (and low center of gravity with fuel), kerosene heaters are typically very sturdy. Tipping over a kerosene heater takes some doing. Additionally, because there is fuel involved, people are probably more cautious than they might be with an electric heater. Users have the responsibility to use extreme caution when operating any fuel-based component, especially any type of heating device. Due to the stability of these types of heaters, a corporation should not be held liable for recklessness that results in a kerosene heater tip-over. Using these arguments, I would recommend that CSH does not incorporate an automatic cut-off when tipped over on any of its units. Instead, one of the most important features that should be implemented is an electric spark ignition. The first danger of no electric start option is simply the repetitive lighting of a match. While it is the users’ responsibility handling matches safely in their own home, a combustible fuel is also involved, which increases danger significantly. According to CSH engineers, adding an electric start option would decrease the probability of death by 50%....
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