Electrical goods

DOWNLOAD PDF

What are electrical goods?

Electrical goods are machines powered by a form of energy known as electricity.  They are used in households to perform a range of everyday tasks, such as boiling a kettle or blow drying your hair.

How may a child be injured?

Burns

Electric shock or electrocution can result in burns to both the skin and internal tissues or death.  Children can be injured when biting on cords or cord sockets, placing objects such as scissors and keys into power points, placing appliances in water or flying kites and model aeroplanes near overhead power lines.

Cardiac and/or respiratory arrest

Children can suffer cardiac and/or respiratory arrest if they receive an electric shock from a faulty electrical appliance.

Muscle, nerve and tissue damage

Children can experience muscle, nerve and tissue damage after receiving an electric shock when accidentally coming into contact with exposed parts of electrical appliances or wiring.

How common are these injuries?

A study in Australia showed that electrical injuries in children and older people were much less frequent than in other age groups.[1] There were 209 cases of electrical injury in 0–14 year olds between 2002-03 to 2003-04. Very few deaths were recorded in children 0–12 years (n=6).

Another study at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead reported on 22 children who suffered an electrical burn between November 1995 and December 2003.2 Most of the burns occurred as a result of a faulty electrical appliance (27%), contact with an exposed wire (23%) and probing an electrical socket (18%). Although there are only a small number of electrical burns, they can be extremely severe.

Is there a Law or an Australian Standard for electrical goods?

All electrical goods sold must meet the requirements of the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (NSW) and its Regulations. This legislation covers the distribution of safe electrical appliances and other electrical goods which must be tested and approved before they can be sold.  The easiest way to determine if an electrical good is approved is to see if it displays an acceptable approval mark, as shown below.

Type of approval marks

example

NSW Fair Trading
NSW xxxxx on articles approved after 24 February 2005.

N xxxxx on articles approved before 24 February 2005.
Other State Government agencies
Q xxxxx,  ESO xxxxx,

V xxxxx, ESV xxxxx,

S xxxxx, T xxxxx
Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM)
SAI Global Certification Services Pty Ltd

(ACN 108 716 669)
SAI TE EA xxxxxxx    or

SAI SMK EA xxxxxx   or

SAI-xxxxxx-EA
The Australian Gas Association (AGA)

(ACN 004 206 044)
AGA xxxxxx EA   or

AGA xxxxxx G EA 
International Testing and Certification Services Pty Ltd
A/xxxxxx/EA
SGS Systems and Services Certification Pty Ltd

(ACN 060 156 014)
SGSEA xxxxxx   or

SGS-xxxxxx-EA
SAA Approvals Pty Ltd

(ACN 125 451 327)
SAA xxxxxx EA
Testing and Certification Australia
TCA xxxxxx EA
UL International New Zealand Limited

(NZ Incorporation Number 1983441)
U xxxxxx EA
TUV Rheinland Australia Pty Ltd

(ACN 124 175 953)
TUV xxxxxx EA
BSI Group (Australia and New Zealand) Pty Ltd
BSI-xxxxxx-EA
Global Mark Pty Ltd
GMA-xxxxxx-EA
Market Access (AUS) Pty Ltd trading as Certification Body Australia
CBA xxxxxx   or

CBA-xxxxxx-EA
Australian Safety Approval
ASA-xxxxxx-EA

 

Source:  http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/Consumers/Product_and_service_safety/Electrical_safety/Safety_labels_for_electrical_goods.page?

Remember:

Fair Trading NSW recommends five simple rules for electrical safety.

  1. Regular maintenance
  • Electrical appliances should be checked regularly for any damage.  Be aware of flickering indicator lights, smoke, hot fuses and noises such as popping, fizzing, spluttering, or erratic stop-start running.
  • Never try to fix a faulty appliance yourself.  Have it checked by a licensed electrical contractor.  Always use a licensed electrician to do any electrical work.
  • Second hand electrical appliances should be thoroughly checked for safety by a registered electrical contractor, licensed electrician or reputable appliance repairer, before use.
  1. Certificate of compliance
  • Your electrician should give you a ‘Certificate of Compliance Electrical Work’ to show the work has been tested and checked to ensure it complies with the regulations.
  • Where possible, purchase an electrical appliance that meets the above mentioned requirements of the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 (NSW) and its Regulations and includes an approval mark.
  1. Safety switches
  • Have a safety switch installed by a licensed electrician.  A safety switch can save lives by detecting faulty appliances or bad wiring and turn the power off almost immediately.
  1. Contact your landlord or agent
  • If you’re renting, report electrical problems to your landlord or agent immediately. They should be repaired as a priority.
  1. Report electrical accidents
  • If you receive medical treatment for an electrical injury, it must by law be reported to your electricity provider or NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead also recommends the following.

  • Water and electricity
  • Teach children never to touch electrical switches with wet hands and to be careful when using electrical appliances near water.  Never use an appliance that has had water spilt on it.  If an appliance causes a tingling sensation while you’re using it, switch it off at the power point and have it checked.
  • Never pour water on an electrical fire.  Only use a fire extinguisher designed for electrical fires or a fire blanket.
  • Do not leave appliances such as hair dryers and portable heaters in the bathroom (children have been electrocuted by pulling hair dryers into baths even though the hair dryer was switched off).
  • Do not put electric blankets on children’s beds, especially if they are still in nappies or wet the bed.
  • Power points and power boards
  • Always switch off electrical appliances at the power point and unplug after use by pulling appliances out by the plug, rather than the cord.
  • Make sure switches and power points are in good condition.  They should not be cracked, broken or loose. Unused power points should be covered with safety plugs to prevent small children and infants from placing objects or fingers into sockets.
  • When using power boards, only use boards with an overload cut out switch.  Appliances that heat up, such as toasters and kettles, draw more power.  Running too many of these types of appliances from a standard power point could overheat power boards, creating a potential fire danger.
  • Always be aware of how much current the appliances you plug into a power point draw.  Care should be taken not to “piggy-back” double adaptors or stack plugs on top of each other as this may overload the power point and cause a fire.
  • Electrical cords
  • Always replace frayed cords or damaged plugs, and unwind extension cords fully so they don’t overheat.
  • Never place electrical cords or extension leads under rugs or carpets.  Pressure from people and equipment moving over cords can cause heat build-up and result in a fire.
  • Keep electrical cords out of reach of children.  Make sure cords do not dangle over bench tops or trail on the floor.

Don’t allow children to fly kites or model aeroplanes anywhere near overhead wires.

Check for products that have been recalled (www.recalls.gov.au) prior to buying or borrowing an item for use with your child.

References

1. Pointer, S. and Harrison, J. (1997). NISU Briefing: Electrical Injury and Death. No. 9, April 2007. ISSN: 1833-024X, INJCAT 99.1

2. Tomkins C.L., Holland A.J.A. Electrical burn injuries in children. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. 2008; 44:727-30 2