Woman dies from 'faulty' USB charger

A WOMAN wearing headphones and holding a laptop has been found dead with burns to her ears and chest in a suspected electrocution.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe warned about the potentially fatal risk of using non-compliant USB style chargers following the death.

Fair Trading investigators had recently removed from sale a number of unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers, travel adaptors and power boards at a stall and mobile phone accessory shop in the Campsie area. 

"These devices pose a serious risk of electrocution or fire," he said. 

The trader at Campsie faces possible prosecution. 

Maximum penalties are $87,500 and/or two years imprisonment for an individual and $875,000 for a corporation.

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.

Consumers must avoid these products and retailers should not be selling them.

All electrical products sold in NSW must comply with the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 and its regulations to ensure they are designed and manufactured to meet Australian Standards.  

Do not purchase or use an electrical product that does not carry a recognised safety approval mark or insulation on the pins of the plug. 

Consumers in possession of unapproved and non-compliant USB style chargers, typically used to charge phones and tablets, should bend the pins on the chargers 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.

For full details or to download further information on electrical products and equipment go to the Fair Trading website at: www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au