Recently spotted this article. Although it is UK based, it’s relevent to Australia and a very timely reminder leading up to Christmas.
We often find imported electrical appliances being use in workplaces that have not been certified to Australian standards such as powerboards that do not have an incorporated overload protection device or other devices with exposed live wires.
A group of emergency services, consumer watchdogs and safety groups want the government to make online sellers more liable for selling dangerous items. Online marketplaces are a “hotbed” for risky electronics, such as hairdryers and straighteners with electric shock risks, and dangerous toys, it says.
The group wants sites like Amazon, eBay, Wish and AliExpress to be held responsible for unsafe listings. Each of these retailers removed dangerous listings when contacted.
At the moment, “gaps in the law” mean that such marketplaces are not held to the same standards as High Street shops, the group said. That means “they have no responsibility for the safety of products sold to millions of consumers via their platforms”. That is because many purchases are made with “third-party” sellers – so the website itself is facilitating the purchase, but not selling it themselves.
In a letter to government ministers, the group said the status quo “continues to place consumers at risk”. Sue Davies from consumer group Which? – one of the signatories – said legislation “is not fit for purpose and does not account for the massive shift to online shopping”. The letter is signed by the National Fire Chiefs Council, London Fire Brigade, Electrical Safety First, the British Toy and Hobby Association, and the Child Accident Prevention Trust, among others. Issues the group says it has identified include children’s toys still going on sale that had already been found to fall short of safety standards – for example, when tiny button or “coin” batteries could be accessed by a small child and potentially swallowed.