Portable Generator Finger Injuries Result in $15.8M CPSC Penalty for Generac Power Systems

The CPSC indicates Generac illegally failed to report incidents of finger injuries from portable generators, including amputations

Federal safety officials have reached a settlement with the Generac Power Systems, which has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $15.8 million over it’s failure to properly report problems involving portable generator finger injuries sustained by a number of consumers, which delayed a 2021 recall and caused a continuing risk for consumers to go unaddressed.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a press release on May 5, announcing it has voted to accept a $15,800,000 civil penalty from Generac Power Systems, after the manufacturer failed to disclose incidents involving consumers whose fingers were partially amputated or crushed by the unlocked handle on a number of different portable generator models.

Approximately 300,000 of Generac’s 6500 watt and 8000 watt portable generators were recalled on July 29, 2021, even though the manufacturer was aware of multiple reports of problems since October 2018, which were not immediately disclosed to the CPSC.

At the time of the recall, there were at least eight reports of severe injuries to consumers after using the gasoline-powered portable generators, with at least seven resulting in finger amputation and another consumer’s finger was crushed. However, as of November 2022, the CPSC has received 29 additional injury reports, 24 of which have resulted in finger amputations and another five reports of crushed fingers.

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According to the Generac portable generator recall notice eventually issued, the design features a handle that can unlock and pinch the fingers of the consumer against the frame of the generator if it is moved.

“Beginning in October 2018 and continuing into 2020, Generac received reports of incidents from consumers whose fingers were partially amputated or crushed by the unlocked handle of the portable generator. Despite possessing this information, Generac did not immediately report to the Commission,” the CPSC press release states. “By the time Generac filed a report with the Commission, there were five reports of consumers suffering finger amputations while attempting to transport the portable generators, which required hospitalization, surgery, and/or sutures and resulted in permanent disfigurement.”

The settlement agreement, approved in a 4-0 vote by the commission, will require the manufacturer to execute a new system of procedures to ensure future compliance with the agency. In addition, Generac will also be required to submit annual reports regarding its compliance program, system of internal controls, and internal audits of the new compliance program and internal controls, for the next three years.

For more information on the recall, consumers can contact Generac toll free at 844-242-3493 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They may also visit online at www.generac.com/handleguard or www.generac.com.

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