A media statement released by the state government recently, warned against Queenslanders purchasing cheap Christmas lights that do not meet the required Australian Safety Standards.
Office of Fair and Safe Work head Dr Simon Blackwood said that whilst purchasing cheaper Christmas lights from online retailers, markets or second hand may be a bargain at the time, but are not worth the risks.
“Cheap or second hand lights – anything electrical for that matter – are a risk because you just can’t be sure what you’re getting,” Dr Blackwood said.
“Saving a couple of dollars may turn into an outlay of much bigger financial risks if the lights malfunction or set the tree on fire.” Said Dr Blackwood.
During this Christmas holiday season, the Electrical Safety Office was reminding everyone to be safe and only purchase lights that are approved for sale in Australia that meet the required Australian Standards, and for the purposes outlined by the manufacturer. For example if the lights’ instruction clearly state it is for indoor use only, do not attempt to install it outside.
“Under Queensland’s electrical safety laws, it is illegal to sell decorative lights that do not meet Australian standards nor have a certificate of approval,” he said.
It is highly recommended that you only buy electrical products from reputable stores and make sure you check for the compliance mark or approval number. This is more so important if you are purchasing these online as there are many electrical products that are imported and are non-compliant with Australian safety standards and can be hazardous especially as a potential source of fires.
In addition, if you don’t already have them – get safety switches installed on every electrical circuit in your home. Safety switches are an extra safety measure that can easily prevent electrocution and serious injury. Contact your local licensed electrician for assistance.
When you are purchasing Christmas lights (or any other lighting for that matter) always look for an approval number – such as ‘Q041234’ – or the regulatory compliance mark logo, both of which indicate compliance with Australian standards.
These numbers are usually found on a plastic tag near the plug or on the transformer on an extra-low-voltage type lights. They could also be printed on the packaging.
Dr Blackwood said Electrical Safety Office inspectors were conducting random audits of lighting retailers to ensure lights being sold have been approved and are safe.
For more information on simple safety hints when buying, using or storing decorative lights go to www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au.