WASHINGTON -- The maker of the popular Bowflex exercise machines has agreed to pay a $950,000 penalty for not immediately reporting safety defects that led to dozens of injuries, government regulators say.
Vancouver, Wash.-based Nautilus Inc. recalled about 800,000 Bowflex Power Pro systems and Bowflex Ultimate Fitness Machines last year after receiving reports of injuries over a number of years. Under federal law, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers must immediately report information about potentially hazardous products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
"Companies need to understand that the quicker they report product safety problems to CPSC, the quicker we can take action together and protect consumers from injuries," CPSC chairman Hal Stratton said in a statement issued in conjunction with the penalty announced today.
The Power Pro and Ultimate machines that came with a "Lat Tower" had backboard benches and seat pins that broke and collapsed, injuring some customers. Another version of the Power Pro was manufactured without a "Lat Tower," and the incline support brackets on these models also occasionally failed and resulted in injuries.
According to CPSC, Nautilus did not report 85 injuries between 1995 and 2004. Users suffered chipped teeth, cuts and back, disc and neck injuries. Nor did the company report design changes on the machines that were supposed to fix the problems, the agency said.
"No one likes to pay penalties, but the process has caused us to double check our quality standards as well as improve our reporting process," said Ron Arp, a Nautilus spokesman. "We're just glad to put it behind us."
The Power Pro models have been discontinued. Repair kits for Power Pro machines can be obtained through the Bowflex Web site, www.bowflex.com.
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