Portable ethanol burner ban extended

This announcement is for: 
ConsumerProduct safety

UPDATE 16/3/17 - Federal Government imposes an interim national product safety ban for 60-days. Details released by Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack MP

The sale of portable decorative ethanol burners will be banned in Western Australia for another month in a bid to protect consumers from burns or fire incidents.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe says the 30-day extension of a 60-day interim ban is in response to 100 serious injuries reported throughout Australia and at least 29 house fires since 2010.

“We initially stopped the sale of table-top decorative flame products, known as ethanol burners, in December 2016 while consumer protection agencies across the country evaluated ongoing safety concerns,” she said.

“Here in WA there had been a horrendous accident in the backyard of a Safety Bay home, where a 28-year-old woman’s face and upper body were badly burned by an exploding ethanol burner.”

Since the introduction of the ban, more than 300 retailers have been visited and more than 1000 decorative burners removed from sale. The proactive and coordinated approach from Consumer Protection WA, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and other state agencies complements numerous public warnings issued previously.

“Anyone still using an ethanol-fuelled burner at their home is advised to stop doing so immediately,” Ms Lipscombe said.

“The biggest danger is re-fuelling while it is still lit or warm. When the fuel is low, the flame can appear blue or clear, making it difficult to see. There is also a risk of the burner being knocked over, especially by children or pets.”

During the continuing interim ban shops must ensure the products remain off their shelves and online businesses cannot offer them for sale. Maximum fines for selling banned products range from $220,000 for individuals to $1.1 million for corporations.

“Agency inspectors will continue their hard work ensuring these products are not available for sale but the WA community can also report any they see for sale by emailing consumer@commerce.wa.gov.au or by phoning 1300 30 40 54,” Ms Lipscombe said.

The ban does not apply to ethanol fireplaces installed in a fixed position, or those products with a power output of more than 4.5 kW and those used in the heating or warming of food.

For WA-specific information, see the Consumer Protection website www.commerce.wa.gov.au/ethanol and for details of the national interim ban and refund options, check out www.productsafety.gov.au

Media contact (Consumer Protection) 

Consumer Protection
Media release
17 Feb 2017

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