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Australia warning over hoverboards

15 January 2016 by News Desk

hoverboard1Consumer regulators in Australia have launched an official investigation into the safety of hoverboards.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating whether hoverboards will or may cause injury to any person, or a reasonably foreseeable use (including a misuse) of the goods will or may cause injury, following the identification of safety related incidents linked to the goods.

In 2015 The Minister for Small Business issued a Safety Warning Notice to the public in relation to hoverboards. And many airlines now refuse to carry the items inside the cabins of their planes.

Hoverboards are wheeled ride-on devices with a single axle. They are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery via connection to a mains power supply. These devices are also known as self-balancing scooters, gliders or modboards.

The ACCC has identified two safety concerns with hoverboards: fires that have occurred from the faulty design of some hoverboard chargers and user injuries through falls.

Electrical safety experts advise that fires, as reported, most likely relate to products that would not comply with Australian electrical requirements, or to the use of a charger meant for another device.

Electrical safety hazard advice

Ensure that the packaging is marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle. The RCM signifies that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to ensure the product complies with electrical safety requirements

Approval markings vary between states and territories. They are usually an alphanumeric code, comprising the first letter of the state/territory that issues the approval followed by between one and six digits.

The ACCC advises consumers to examine their product for these markings and to contact their supplier to verify if the appliance is approved for use. Consumers can also access the Australian Certification Public Database to search for approved electrical appliances.

Overcharging non-compliant devices may cause overheating of the battery and result in a fire

Always use the approved battery charger that came with the product. If there are signs of damage near the battery do not charge the unit until the device is inspected by a professional

Hoverboard owners are advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly when using and charging their hoverboard. Adults should supervise the charging of all electrical devices for children.

Consumers should check the recalls website to see if their product or charger has been recalled.

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