As news.com.au reports, button batteries are the target of a large-scale compliance drive: Products that require button batteries must have safe battery compartments under the new laws to prevent children from reaching the batteries. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned companies offering button batteries or products powered by them that they must comply with the new safety standards or face heavy fines.
Under the new mandatory standards, button batteries must be supplied in child-resistant packaging and suppliers must also ensure that products have been tested for compliance. Furthermore, additional warnings and emergency instructions must be placed on the batteries, the packaging and the instructions for use. These standards set out the minimum performance, design, construction, workmanship, packaging and labelling requirements that products must meet before they can be offered for sale in Australia. These world-first standards, according to ACCC Vice-Chair Delia Rickard, would help prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children. Three children are reported to have died and one child per month have been seriously injured because they had swallowed or ingested button cells. If a button cell battery is swallowed, it can get stuck in a child’s throat and cause a chemical reaction that burns through tissue and can lead to serious injury or even death within just two hours.
Inspectors will be looking for unsafe products online as well as in shops such as discounters, large retailers, pharmacies, newsagents and at major events, according to Rickard. Companies are advised that serious penalties can be imposed if unsafe or non-compliant products are discovered. Businesses that violate the Australian Consumer Protection Act can be fined up to $10 million and individuals up to $500,000. Ms Rickard advises consumers to check the list of recalled products on the product safety website. Unsafe products can be reported via the website Product Safety Australia.
Further particulars on this topic are available on the ACCC website:
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