Concern about the dangers of consumers using unsafe power adaptors

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EnergySafety and Consumer Protection are issuing a joint public alert, concerned about the dangers of WA consumers using power adaptors that don’t meet Australian safety standards.

The warning comes after two consumers reported receiving electric shocks after using an unsafe international adaptor. When the travel adaptor is plugged into a power board, two exposed pins designed for the United Kingdom, remain live at 240 Volts. This is particularly obvious when the pins are in the unlocked position but also occurs when the user remembers to lock them in the recessed position as the ends of the pins can still be touched.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron is concerned about the dangerous power adaptors being available on the WA market.

“I encourage everyone to watch out when buying electrical goods online or while overseas as unapproved devices do not meet the essential safety requirements of Australian standards,” Mr Bowron said.

“Most likely they will not be fitted with suitable plugs for Australia. The sellers may sometimes include a travel adaptor to overcome this problem. Buyers should be wary of these adaptors. They can be deadly!

“People receiving adaptors supplied with electrical goods purchased overseas or online should be suspicious about their electrical safety. They should have them checked by an electrician before use. Better still, they should buy an Australian based adapter or ask an electrician to replace the foreign plug with an Australian one.”

Adaptors sold in Australia must be approved for use in Australia. They will be marked with an Australian approval number and bear the Regulatory Compliance Mark, indicating they comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 3122 (Appendix A).

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard shares the concern about the adaptors being used by WA consumers.

“Consumers should be wary about any electrical appliance or device which is purchased overseas, online or from an unknown supplier as it may not comply with Australian safety standards”, Mr Hillyard said.

“Anyone in possession of unapproved adaptors should destroy and dispose of them immediately.

“There have been many incidents in the past where people have been injured by chargers and adapters which did not comply with Australian standards. I urge consumers to be aware of this issue and be vigilant as to the electrical products they use at home and at work to ensure they are safe.

“People can buy safe travel adaptors in Australia to suit the electricity systems of most countries before departing overseas.”

It is an offence to sell unapproved electrical equipment in WA with a maximum penalty of $50,000 for an individual or $250,000 for a corporation.

Consumer tips:

  • Only buy electrical products with the Regulatory Compliance Mark and Australian safety approval number.
  • Only buy from recognised Australian stores and not from overseas suppliers.
  • Before purchasing adaptors or chargers, check that the plug pins are of an Australian configuration, have been approved for use in Australia and are insulated for at least 50% of the pin length. 
  • Anyone in possession of unapproved adaptors or chargers purchased locally should contact us immediately. If you bought them overseas, destroy and dispose of them immediately. Do not use them. 
  • If you notice any unapproved chargers for sale by a local supplier, please call EnergySafety: 6251 1900 or Consumer Protection: 1300 304 054.

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Media Contact: Alan Hynd (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 / alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au

unsafe_adaptor.jpg
unsafe_adaptor.jpg, by ahynd
Unsafe international power adaptor. The UK pins at the bottom are energised when plugged in.
unsafe_adaptor_in_powerboard.jpg
unsafe_adaptor_in_powerboard.jpg, by ahynd
Unsafe international power adaptor in a powerboard. UK pins are energised when plugged in.
rcm_mark_high_res.jpg
rcm_mark_high_res.jpg, by ahynd
Safe power adaptor that complies with Australian safety standards, showing the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) and approval number. In some cases, the approval number can be on the packaging.
unsafe_adaptor2.jpg
unsafe_adaptor2.jpg, by ahynd
Safe power adaptor that complies with Australian safety standards (side view).
RCM approval mark.jpg
RCM approval mark.jpg, by Electricity
Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)
label_high_res.jpg
label_high_res.jpg, by ahynd
Safety compliance label showing approval number
Dangerous power adaptors video

 

Consumer Protection
Media release
14 Aug 2017

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