ACCC Chairman Rod Sims has updated Senators on a key area of work for the commission, whilst appearing before the Senate Economics committee estimates hearing.
As the national product safety regulator, the ACCC has recently taken the lead on a significant issue affecting around 40,000 houses and businesses across Australia.
Approximately 4000 km of Infinity and Olsent-branded Infinity electrical cables installed in houses failed ageing tests, and their substandard PVC protective insulation is expected to become prematurely brittle.
- If cable with brittle insulation is disturbed, it may cause electric shock or in some cases fire.
- The cables have repeatedly failed the relevant Australian standards, which are mandated and enforced under State and Territory electrical safety laws, and are expected to have a significantly reduced service life.
The current expert advice available indicates that safety issues with the cable may begin to arise from 2016 onwards. The Taskforce agreed that the Commonwealth would deal with national and/or major suppliers of the cable, and the States and Territories would be responsible for single state, smaller suppliers.
The next tranche of recalls will be today (www.recalls.gov.au). These recalls will employ the same strategy as the ACCC-negotiated recalls and require steps to be pro-actively taken by suppliers to remediate the faulty cables.
The safety issues concerning Infinity and Olsent-branded Infinity cables are very serious and the ACCC has dedicated, and will continue to dedicate, significant resources to properly deal with the problem.
“This is a timely reminder that companies should ensure that they have effective quality assurance processes in place to prevent unsafe products from reaching their shelves,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“This is particularly the case with companies sourcing or accepting products from less expensive overseas suppliers. Consumers usually know that the better the bargain the more wary they need to be; consumers would expect companies selling such goods to be wary on their behalf,” Mr Sims said.
Product safety is an enduring ACCC priority and in recent years has been a subject of considerable interest of this committee and many senators.
“We are continuing to take steps, including through this statement, to raise the profile of this critically important safety issue. Further media activity is planned for the second round of recall announcements at the end of October.”
The Chairman’s statement is available at Opening statement to Senate Estimates: Infinity cables.
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