Extreme Warning Against USB Chargers as Woman Died Due to Electrocution
By Athena Yenko | June 27, 2014 4:41 PM EST
Sheryl Anne Aldeguers, a 28-year-old from the Philippines, died in April due to electrocution, using a USB charger.
Police investigations revealed that her body was found with burns on both ears and chest in her rented house in North Gosford on the Central Coast.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is now advising against using USB-style chargers, adaptors and power boards that do not meet the safety standards required by Australian law.
Following the death of Aldeguers, similar devices were removed from a stall in Campsie.
"These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire," hence the trader at Campsie is now facing possible prosecution and maximum penalties of $87,500 and/or two years imprisonment.
Penalty for a corporation is $875,000.
"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," Stowe said in a statement.
Consumers are extremely advised against purchasing all electrical products that do not comply with Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and its regulations. All electrical products should be designed and manufactured to meet Australian Standards.
Consumers should look for a mark of approval or insulaton on the pins of the plug when buying electrical products. Those who had already bought unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers that are usually used for phones and tablets are advised to bend the pins 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," Stowe urged.
Stowe said that authorities are not aware that these cheap types of chargers were widespread in NSW.
"This is the first time we've been aware of them in large numbers," Stowe said.
Stowe said that Aldeguers' case is isolated but people should observe due diligence.
"We're only familiar with this one incident and it does look like one of these devices are implicated in the electrocution," he said.
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