Say bon voyage to unsafe travel adaptors

  • Electric shock risk if power adaptors do not meet Australian safety standards
  • Check for compliance symbol, insulated pins and no exposed metal when in use
  • Buy from reputable retailers and be cautious about overseas or online sales

A rise in electric shock reports has prompted a warning from WA’s energy safety regulator about dangerous travel adaptors that are not approved for use in Australia.

Building and Energy is urging consumers to only purchase electrical appliances from reputable retailers after noting unsafe adaptors for sale through some local online marketplaces and international sellers.

“These products do not meet stringent Australian safety standards and can put users at risk of electric shock from live, uninsulated metal parts,” Building and Energy Acting Executive Director Nabil Yazdani said.

“Consumers should check that their electrical equipment has a regulatory compliance mark – a tick inside a triangle – showing it has been independently approved for use in Australia.”

One type of dangerous travel adaptor has multiple pins that can all become electrified with 240 volts when one section is plugged into a socket outlet. A user could be electrocuted or seriously injured if they touch the live pins, even in a recessed position.

Other models of dangerous travel adaptors have all-metal pins, with no insulation, or pins with holes.

Insulation must cover at least half the pin to protect against contact with live parts if the plug is not fully pushed into the socket outlet. Incidents and even fatalities have occurred when thin metallic items, such as blind slats, have touched the active pins of loose plugs.

“The adaptor should also be robust and in good condition,” Mr Yazdani said.

“If you have any doubts about the safety or compliance of your electrical equipment, dispose of it responsibly or have it checked by a licensed electrical contractor. It’s simply not worth the risk.”


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travel adaptors.jpg
travel adaptors.jpg, by sroberts
Non-compliant travel adaptors. Left: The exposed pins become energised when the other part is plugged in. Right: These adaptors have all-metal, uninsulated pins.









RCM approval mark.jpg
RCM approval mark.jpg, by Electricity
A regulatory compliance mark (RCM) shows the electrical appliance is approved for use in Australia.
insulated pins.png
insulated pins.png, by sroberts
Plug pins should have insulation covering half their length.


Building and Energy
Media release
13 Jul 2023

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