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26 Feb 2017

Safety Alert - USB Style Chargers

Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is warning consumers about the potentially fatal risk of using non-compliant USB style chargers following the recent death of a consumer where an unapproved USB charger was potentially implicated.

The Commissioner said Fair Trading investigators had recently removed from sale a number of unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers, travel adaptors and power boards at a stall and mobile phone accessory shop in the Campsie area.

“These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire,” he said.

The trader at Campsie faces possible prosecution.

Maximum penalties are $87,500 and/or two years imprisonment for an individual and $875,000 for a corporation.

The unapproved devices do not meet the essential safety requirements of Australian standards and are often made of inferior plastics and other insulation materials. Devices found by Fair Trading had no insulation on pins, or approval marks.

Consumers must avoid these products and retailers should not be selling them.

All electrical products sold in NSW must comply with the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004and its regulations to ensure they are designed and manufactured to meet Australian Standards.

Do not purchase or use an electrical product that does not carry a recognised safety approval mark or insulation on the pins of the plug.

Consumers in possession of unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers, typically used to charge phones and tablets, should bend the pins on the chargers and dispose of them immediately.

As a general safety rule, consumers should not use any devices while they are plugged in and charging.

Anyone with information about the purchase of any unapproved and non-compliant electrical or gas products should contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.

LEDs a big step towards a greener future.

What is LED lighting?

LED stands for ‘Light Emitting Diode’. LED lights are the latest technology in energy efficient lighting and they are by far the most power saving and smart lighting option available.

What are the benefits of LED lighting?

Lower power consumption. LEDs use approximately 85% less energy than halogen or incandescent lights and about 5% less energy than compact fluorescent globes. A 9 watt LED can give the same result as a 50 watt halogen, which saves you money thanks to their energy saving properties.

Longer lifespan. LED lights have a much longer lifespan than other types of lighting - see the table below.

Lighting technologyEstimated lifespan*
LED30,000-50,000 hours
CFL8,000-15,000 hours
Halogen1,000-5,000 hours
Incandescent1,000 hours
*Depending on the globe | Source:

LED lights can also be switched on and off frequently without affecting the LED’s lifetime where traditional lighting’s operational life expectancy is drastically reduced by frequent on/off switching.

LEDs also differ from standard lighting as they do not burn out and stop working rather they emit lower output levels, becoming less bright over a period of time.

Ecologically friendly. LEDS are free of toxic chemicals and are 100% recyclable. Where most conventional fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury or lead that are dangerous for the environment.

Emit no UV rays or infrared radiation which makes LED lighting a suitable option for objects and materials that are sensitive to heat and UV.

Flexibility of design. LEDs can deliver light more efficiently to a desired location; they can also be dimmed to control the colour and light distribution. A combined LED system can create amazing lighting effects not just for the eye but also the mood and the mind.

Compact and durable design. LEDS are built with solid components which provide resistance to rough conditions such as exposure to extreme weather, vibrations and external impacts.

Instant lighting is achieved with LEDs as they reach full brightness instantly in comparison to traditional lighting which can take several seconds to reach full brightness.

Operational in cold temperatures such as outdoor winter settings or freezers without the extreme settings impacting on the operation of the light.

Safer alternative as they operate at a much lower temperatures, so they are cooler to touch making them a safer option than halogens.

A low-voltage power supply is amble for LED lighting which makes them a good choice for outdoor settings and is a big advantage in remote or rural areas. You can even connect to an external solar-energy source!

The long operational lifespan of one LED light bulb can save material and production of 25 incandescent light bulbs.

A big step towards a greener future.

RCD Electrical Safety Switches, what you need to know

Installing RCD Safety Switches in your meter box or distribution board and testing them regularly is a small investment in money and time. It will provide long term protection for you and your family against serious injury and death.

Every day activities such as screwing shelving into a wall or using an electrical appliance can turn deadly without the protection of a RCD Safety Switch. 15 Australians are killed in preventable home electrical accidents each year and around 20 times that number are hospitalised with serious injuries.

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