The recent media reports of electric shocks – and even deaths – from smartphone chargers are a timely reminder of the dangers that exist in the home in regard to domestic electrical appliances.
The number of ambulance call-outs caused by shocks from changing a light bulb, fingers stuck in power points and people zapped by a faulty light switch is always a concern. But what appears to be a new trend, is people getting shocks from their mobiles and smartphones.
Australia has very comprehensive safety standards for electrical appliances – including smart ‘phone chargers, but many smartphone chargers in use in Australia today are bought cheaply on-line, often from Asia, and do not meet Australian standards, despite their labelling.
A user of these non-compliant chargers can potentially be exposed to fire, or electric shock, risks due to sub-standard manufacturing. A breakdown in the insulation can see 250 volts on the ‘phone charger plug rather than the recommended 5 volts. And this leaves the user very exposed to a potentially fatal electric shock.
NECA is therefore very concerned about non-compliant products being sold to both the trade and to consumers in Australia, and recently launched their “Does it comply?” campaign to raise awareness of this issue.
Householders should also periodically inspect all plugs on appliances, especially in kitchens and bathrooms, to ensure there is no damage to electric cords, or plugs. They should also ensure that safety switches are fitted to the home to add that extra degree of electrical safety.
The general rule of thumb is that if a ‘phone charger, or anything electrical, looks too cheap to be true, the chances are it does not meet Australian standards. And we suggest you ask yourself whether if it is worth taking the risk, just to save a few dollars, given the potential injury you, or your family member, may suffer.