Hoverboard safety concerns

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is investigating whether hoverboards will or may cause injury to any person, or a reasonably foreseeable use (including a misuse) of the goods will or may cause injury, following the identification of safety related incidents linked to the goods.

On 12 January 2016 The Minister for Small Business issued a Safety Warning Notice to the public in relation to hoverboards.

Hoverboards are wheeled ride-on devices with a single axle. They are powered by a rechargeable lithium battery via connection to a mains power supply. These devices are also known as self-balancing scooters, gliders or modboards.

The ACCC has identified two safety concerns with hoverboards: fires that have occurred from the faulty design of some hoverboard chargers and user injuries through falls.

Electrical safety experts advise that fires, as reported, most likely relate to products that would not comply with Australian electrical requirements, or to the use of a charger meant for another device.

Electrical safety hazard advice

  • Ensure that the packaging is marked with the Australian regulatory compliance symbol or RCM – a tick surrounded by a triangle. The RCM signifies that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to ensure the product complies with electrical safety requirements
  • Approval markings vary between states and territories. They are usually an alphanumeric code, comprising the first letter of the state/territory that issues the approval followed by between one and six digits.
    • The ACCC advises consumers to examine their product for these markings and  to contact their supplier to verify if the appliance is approved for use. Consumers can also access the Australian Certification Public Database to search for approved electrical appliances.
  • Overcharging noncompliant devices may cause overheating of the battery and result in a fire
  • Always use the approved battery charger that came with the product. If there are signs of damage near the battery do not charge the unit until the device is inspected by a professional
  • Hoverboard owners are advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly when using and charging their hoverboard. Adults should supervise the charging of all electrical devices for children.
  • Consumers should check the recalls website to see if their product or charger has been recalled.

Fall injury and road usage advice

  • Users should ensure they use appropriate safety equipment, including a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards. Always wear shoes when riding a hoverboard
  • Riders are strongly advised to check with their local traffic authorities or police before riding a hoverboard in a public place.

Recalls

Contacts

Questions about the most recent recalls should be directed to the relevant state or territory regulator:

Published date: 
5 January 2016

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