The defect affects a small percentage of HP's 17-inch CRT monitors sold since July last year in the US, Canada and several Latin American countries, the company said in a statement.
"In rare circumstances, there is a risk of electric shock if a user comes in contact with a specific and limited area on the top of a defective monitor," HP said in the statement.
The defect is the result of a manufacturing irregularity and affects about 0.01 per cent of HP's HP 71 CRT monitor, model number D8903A. The company has shipped 92,400 monitors bearing that model number in the Americas since July 2000, said HP spokeswoman Andrea Bass.
Of that number, HP has so far inspected 35,000 units and discovered four that are faulty, Bass said. The company knows of one customer who received an electric shock -- which is what alerted HP to the problem -- and that person did not suffer physical injury, according to Bass.
The company will not conduct a recall, meaning it won't advise all customers who bought a potentially affected monitor to return it, she said. It has alerted customers and resellers who received the monitors, and is advising them how to check whether their monitor is affected and how to have it fixed or replaced, HP said in the statement.
HP said it took immediate steps when it discovered the defect, introducing a test in the manufacturing process to detect similar defects.