Yet another hoverboard fire prompts industry calls for legal crackdown

Master Electricians Australia RSS Feed

5 January 2016

Master Electricians Australia (MEA) has today called for regulators to up the ante on imported equipment after a hoverboard, purported by the owner to have been marked as compliant with Australian safety standards, caused a significant house fire in Melbourne overnight.

MEA CEO Malcolm Richards said the fire was the latest in a string of reported incidents caused by hoverboards in varying price ranges.

“We’ve seen 12 recalls in December alone of dangerous electrical equipment, six of which were balancing boards or hoverboards. All of these recalls were related to the chargers being unsafe, with a risk of fire and/or electric shock,” Mr Richards said.

Media reports suggest the hoverboard involved in the Melbourne incident may be one of the six recalled in December, however further testing will be required.

“Our regulators have already been working hard to find these products in the market and test them, but more needs to be done to make sure consumers are safe,” he said.

“Enough is enough. We are calling on our regulators to begin prosecutions on all companies and individuals involved in this process who haven’t done the right thing – from the importers and warehousing right through to the end sellers. Each one has a duty of care to ensure the products they are providing are safe, fully compliant, and won’t burst into flames and burn people’s homes down.

“We are also sick of seeing overseas companies escape prosecution for selling products that are downright dangerous for Australian families, but we can make sure that we apply that prosecution process to everyone we can within the Australian jurisdiction,” he said.

“This latest incident shows that this problem is not going away. We need to contact every purchaser and supplier where physically possible, such as Big W, eBay, or even Scoopon, to supply a purchase list so we can track down these products and get them out of people’s homes before there is a serious injury, or worse, before somebody is killed,” he said.

MEA is also calling on Australian Customs to work with regulators to inspect and stop the importation of such equipment, before it is allowed to enter the market.

“Our safety standards are in place for a reason – to protect people and their properties from these dangers. However our stores are continually flooded with equipment that doesn’t comply, and that is putting you, and your children’s, lives at risk,” he said.

“Not only do people need to check for a compliance mark but they also need to check it hasn’t been recalled since it was first approved.

“We can’t allow suppliers or importers to simply tell us that their products are compliant and apply the RCM, or Australian tick of approval themsleves, we have to make sure that they are compliant, and this can only be done with tighter regulations that call for full testing with adequate checks and balances.

“The regulators should use the full force of the law with any companies caught fraudulently applying the safety Mark without the appropriate testing regime behind the mark. “This process must be tightened as a matter of urgency to ensure that suppliers are, in fact, completing these steps thoroughly and correctly, and not just claiming they are, Mr Richards said.

View the full list of recalled products

Malcolm Richards is available for interview. Please phone SAS Group on 0447755893 or 07 3221 9222.