E-commerce & buying goods online is now hugely popular and continues to be more so. Here in New Zealand, during 2015 almost 2 million adults made purchases via the internet. We are now buying more than 18 million items online every year & electrical appliances are a firm favourite with contractors & consumers.
But how safe are they?
Yes, you can save yourself (sometimes considerable) cost as a contractor or consumer, but the price to pay can be considerably higher with illegal, non-complaint, unsafe & substandard electrical appliances or electronics that can cause electrical and fire hazards.
Electrical Safety: Importing Electrical Goods from China
Whether it’s an affordable electrical product for yourself or your business, remember that manufacturers are not all created equal – so safety & compliance is critical.
Although it’s tempting with what can be significant price differences, the Chinese market is crowded with such a wide range of suppliers from smaller traders to large-scale manufacturers that we advise you to always obtain products from licensed and authorized overseas sources.
Why Purchase Authorised or Licensed Electrical Appliances & Electronics?
If your newly imported electrical appliance or product isn’t from a licensed, authorised & compliant supplier, you could end up with electrical safety problems similar to an estimated 40,000 Australian homes, commercial and residential buildings. In 2013, it was discovered imported Infinity brand electrical cables used in wire lighting, stoves & air conditioners were of poor quality – and potentially very dangerous.
In Australia, electrical cable has not been tested before being sold. The faulty Infinity cables didn’t meet Australian standards and the NSW Government later revealed they deteriorate, becoming brittle over time – leaving dangerous wires exposed, risking fire and electrocution.
It is believed thermal polymers which give the plastic coating longer term durability (and are the most expensive element), were left out from the Chinese manufacturers formula.
Good quality cable can last for decades, but Infinity’s cables are expected to become brittle from any time after 2016. Queensland subsequently banned the sale of Infinity Cables demanded all stock be removed from the shelves.
Malcolm Richards, CEO Master Electricians Australia: “We believe it will crumble in your hands after a number of years, creating an extreme risk to safety or fire for the home owner in the future.” Mr Richards was also concerned about the safety implications of workers & also suggested “the cable must be stripped from homes”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recalled approximately 4000km of the unsafe electrical product in 2014, Infinity Cables went into liquidation & its director is now facing criminal charges.
As this sizeable recall continues across Australia, there are valuable lessons for us to learn.
Electrical Safety: So What to Do?
Here in New Zealand, the demand for imported products purchased online continues unabated.
Faults or other issues also may not be visible, so it’s essential you have them tested to ensure you keep your staff and workplace free from the risk of electric shock or fire.
Before you commit to a low-cost untested imported alternative remember that imported electrical appliances or other devices may not be specifically designed for use in New Zealand. This can be problematic with goods that do not comply with domestic electrical safety standards.
The team at Comply Guy makes it their mission to rid New Zealand of unsafe appliances.
We will quote for free and can test any appliance and certify it as 100% safe.
When it doubt ‘play it safe’ and phone 0800 669 999 for fast, friendly, affordable and professional electrical safety services.