Electric "Worm Getter" Worm Probe Recalled By Six Retailers; Electrocution Hazard Cited

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

June 1, 1993

(301) 504-7908

Release # 93-075

 

Electric "Worm Getter" Worm Probe Recalled By Six Retailers; Electrocution Hazard Cited

PRODUCT: Approximately 83,000 electric WG6-S and WG8-L "Worm Getter" worm probes, manufactured by Handy Marketing Company. The probes are used by fishermen to shock fishing worms to the soil's surface. The probes have a single energized metal rod, enclosed in a white plastic, spring- activated guard on one end and a black plastic bicycle grip on the other end. The affected probes were sold by Kmart, Cabela's, Bass Pro Shops, Fishing Hot Spots, the Sportsman's Guide, and Gander Mountain.

PROBLEM: CPSC is aware of more than 30 deaths involving functionally-identical worm probes. Consumers have been electrocuted by contacting the exposed metal shafts and shocked by touching the ground in the vicinity of the probe.

WHAT TO DO: Owners of affected worm probes should stop using the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. If you purchased a probe from a retailer not listed, contact the company and inform CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 to help identify other possible retailers. If you are not sure where the probe was purchased, you are advised to destroy the probe.

WASHINGTON, DC -- In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), six retailers today announced the recall of WG6-S and WG8-L electric "Worm Getter" worm probe models due to the potential electric shock and electrocution hazard. Approximately 83,000 worm probes were manufactured by the Handy Marketing Company, Grand Rapids, MI and sold from 1980 through 1992. The worm probes sold for about $11 to $28 each.

Electric worm probes are used by fishermen to shock fishing worms to the soil surface. The WG6-S and WG8-L electric Worm Getter models have a single energized metal rod. The probes are energized by household electricity at line voltage, typically 110 to 120 volts alternating current. The metal rod of the probe is designed to be inserted into the ground with one or more extension cords connecting it to an electrical receptacle.

The Handy Marketing Company is now out of business and is unable to participate in this recall. The six identified retailers of these worm probes include: the Kmart Corporation, Troy, MI which only sold model WG6-S; Cabela's, Inc., Sidney, NE which only sold model WG8-L; Bass Pro Shops, Inc., Springfield, MO which sold both models; Gander Mountain, Inc., Wilmot, WI which only sold model WG8-L; the Sportsman's Guide, Eagan, MN which sold both models; and Fishing Hot Spots, Rhinelander, WI which only sold model WG8-L.

With the exception of Kmart, the other listed retailers sold worm probes mostly by mail-order catalog. CPSC is aware that other unidentified retailers may have also sold these worm probes.

No electric shock or electrocution incidents have been reported involving these worm probes. CPSC is aware of more than 30 deaths, however, involving functionally identical worm probes. Consumers have been electrocuted from other worm probes by contacting the exposed metal shafts and have reportedly been shocked by touching the ground in the vicinity of the probe.

Although these electric worm probes have no identifiable markings, they are distinctive in other ways. Both models have a 7/8-inch diameter white plastic, spring activated guard or sheath that encloses the rod at one end and a black plastic bicycle grip handle at the other end. The WG6-S model is 21 inches long and the WG8-L model is 26 inches long. At the end of the handle for both models is an eight-to-nine-inch power cord and plug. The WG6-S model has a two-prong plug and the WG8-L model has a three- prong plug with an indicator light in the handle. Also, both units were sold with a red end cap fitted over the probe, which must be removed to use the product.

Owners of the electric "Worm Getter" should stop using the product and return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. If the WG6-S model was purchased from Kmart, for example, the owner should take the probe to any Kmart store for a refund. Owners who purchased from one of the five listed catalog companies should mail the units back to the company for a refund of the purchase price and mailing costs. Some of the catalog companies also have retail store outlets where the owners may return the units for a refund.

For questions about returning the units to the listed catalog companies, owners may call the firms at the following toll-free numbers: Cabela's at 1-800-237-8888, Bass Pro Shops at 1-800-554-5488, Gander Mountain at 1-800-426-3371, The Sportman's Guide at 1-800-888-5222, and Fishing Hot Spots at 1-800-338-5957.

Consumers who have purchased one of these worm probes from a retailer not identified above should contact the company and inform CPSC at 1-800-638-2772 to help identify other possible retailers. If you are not sure where the worm probe was purchased or if the retailer is out of business, you are advised to destroy the probe.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is announcing this recall as part of its mission to protect the public from the unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The Commission's objective is to reduce the estimated 28.6 million injuries and 21,700 deaths associated each year with the 15,000 different types of consumer products under CPSC's jurisdiction.