Consumer Product Safety

Accident Information Special News No.32 (Jet Stream Bath)

December 7, 2000

In December 4, 2000, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry paid attention to an accident that hair was entangled in a suction port of a jet stream bath, and from the viewpoint of preventing the similar accident from occurring again, made the 23 jet stream bath makers to completely understand the attentions for securing the consumers' safety use of the device and immediately report to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, when grasping accident information.

1. Details

  1. (1)In September 21, 2000, there was an accident in Chofu City in Tokyo that a schoolchild (a girl in the first grade of an elementary school) taking a bath using a jet stream bath of the NORITZ Corporation was drowned with her hair entangled with the suction port of the jet stream bath.
  2. (2)In November 14, 11 jet stream bath makers including NORITZ jointly announced that they would provide free replacements for the improved type (a lot of holes bored in the front face to disperse the water flow, thereby reducing the suction force) of the suction port cover as the accident reoccurrence prevention measures.
  3. (3)After that, it was revealed that accident information was gathered to the respective companies so that, to absolutely sure the prevention of the accident reoccurrence, the competent Ministry instructed the 23 companies including companies which did not participate in the joint announcement to report the accident information grasped by the respective companies to the competent Ministry.

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2. Outlines of Reports

According to the reports of the 23 jet stream bath makers, the situations of the accidents grasped by the respective companies are as follows.

  1. (a) According to the reports collected so far, the total accident cases are 30.
  2. (b) Out of them, 29 cases are related to the old type suction ports whose components are to be replaced for the improved ones and 1 case is related to the improved type suction port, which is not the target.
  3. (c) The situations of the accidents are 20 cases due to hair entanglement and 10 cases due to suction of the body such as feet.

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3. Accident related to Improved Type Suction Port

  1. (1)According to the reports from the respective companies, 29 cases out of 30 cases were related to the old type suction ports, however, there was one case related to the type of the improved types.
    • * This accident is related to JBH - 4 type sold by Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. and occurred in April 1997.
  2. (2)In November 28, in the presence of the personnel of the competent Ministry, Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd. performed the reproduction test about the suction port of the improved type. The results showed that there was no problem in particular in a test, which was performed with the holes of the suction port uncovered, however, in a test, which was performed by covering the holes in the front face of the suction port, etc., the hair was entangled and hard to be pulled out.
  3. (3)Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd., which has examined the counterplan therefor, announced it in December 4.

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4. Measures of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry

Based on the aforementioned, in December 4, the competent Ministry instructed to the respective jet stream bath makers as follows.

  1. (1)Further strive to grasp the consumers of the old type suction ports through the sales routes and accelerate the replacement of the components.
  2. (2)To secure safety utilization of the device by the consumers, let the consumers completely understand the attentions such as not to cover the suction port and not to allow children to take a bath alone.
  3. (3)It was confirmed that in the improved type of Hitachi Chemical Co., Ltd., the hair is hard to be pulled out according to the conditions, however, there is no gainsaying that the improved types of the other companies may cause similar problems so that the respective companies shall reconfirm the safety of the improved type as the industry, examine the measures of the higher safety, and submit the report on the execution time of them.
  4. (4)When grasping the accident information, immediately report it to the competent Ministry.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry watches the situations of the counterplans of the respective companies in future so as to be absolutely sure the proper measures.

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(Reference 1) Progress states of the replacement of the components

Companies replacing the components:
13 companies including 11 companies implementing the joint announcement.
Number of components to be replaced:
136,574 components (Total of the number of shipped components. Including the disposed ones.)
Number of components individually identified as the objects among them (as of November 13):
Number of components finishing the replacement among them (as of November 13):

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(Reference 2) Outlines of the site investigation implemented by the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation

In September 2000, the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry performed the site investigation on the two death accidents (Chofu city, Tokyo and Wakamatsu City in Aizu, Fukushima Prefecture) occurred in using the jet stream baths and the outlines of the results are as follows.

  1. (1)Implemented in November 9 (Chofu City) and November 20 (Wakamatsu City in Aizu)
  2. (2)Both accidents occurred in the jet stream baths of the NORITZ Corporation with the old type suction ports fitted thereto.
  3. (3)In the investigation, two types of wigs of human hair and artificial hair were prepared to examine the situations of the hair sucked or entangled therein.
  4. (4)As a result, the followings are confirmed.
    1. (a) Where the hair is near the suction port during operation of the jet stream device, the hair is sucked therein.
    2. (b) Where the hair is sucked therein, it is entangled with a suction port cover and sometimes hard to be pulled out.

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