Shock­ing risk with overseas adap­tors

Geraldton Guardian - - Opinion - Danni Bloom­field Danni Bloom­field is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer with Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion — Mid­west Murchi­son Re­gion Depart­ment of Mines, In­dus­try Reg­u­la­tion and Safety. Shop 3, 50-52 Durlacher Street, Ger­ald­ton. Phone 9920 9800. Email danni.bloom­field@ d

Those who buy elec­tri­cal prod­ucts on­line might be shocked to hear overseas plug con­vert­ers sup­plied with ap­pli­ances to make them use­able in Aus­tralia could harm or kill them.

There have been two lo­cal cases re­cently in which con­sumers re­ported re­ceiv­ing elec­tric shocks from power adap­tors that came with ap­pli­ances they had bought from web­sites.

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion is now work­ing with En­er­gySafety to warn the WA com­mu­nity about un­safe overseas plug con­vert­ers that may come with elec­tri­cal prod­ucts bought via the in­ter­net but don’t meet Aus­tralian Stan­dards.

One that caused re­cent elec­tric shocks was a travel adap­tor with mul­ti­ple pin op­tions.

When the Aus­tralian pins are plugged into a power board, two ex­posed pins de­signed for the UK are able to be touched — those pins are live at 240V, enough to cause se­ri­ous injury or death.

The risk ex­ists when the pins are in the un­locked po­si­tion and fully pro­trud­ing but also when the user has re­mem­bered to lock them, be­cause even in the re­cessed po­si­tion the ends of the pins can still be touched.

If you re­ceive, or al­ready have, an adap­tor sup­plied with elec­tri­cal goods pur­chased on­line or bought while overseas, be sus­pi­cious about its elec­tri­cal safety.

Have it checked by an electrician be­fore use.

Bet­ter still, buy an adapter from a rep­utable lo­cal re­tailer be­cause adap­tors sold here must be ap­proved for use in Aus­tralia — they will be marked with an Aus­tralian ap­proval num­ber and bear the Reg­u­la­tory Com­pli­ance Mark (a tri­an­gle with a cir­cled tick in­side it), in­di­cat­ing they com­ply with our stan­dards.

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.

Al­ter­na­tively, if you have an ap­pli­ance with a for­eign plug, ask an electrician to re­place the plug with an Aus­tralian one.

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

If you are go­ing overseas you can buy safe travel adap­tors in Aus­tralia to suit the elec­tric­ity sys­tems of most coun­tries be­fore you leave

Un­safe adap­tors should not be able to be bought lo­cally but if you have one you bought in Aus­tralia it should be re­ported.

If you no­tice any un­ap­proved charg­ers for sale by a lo­cal sup­plier, phone En­er­gySafety on 6251 1900 or Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion on 1300 30 40 54. You can see our new warn­ing videos about power adap­tors on our Face­book page and YouTube chan­nel.

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