Plug adaptor banned over shock risk

Last updated 11:04 31/01/2013
banned plug adaptor
BANNED: Power plug adaptor banned over electrocution risk.

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A power plug adaptor has been banned in New Zealand after complaints that the devices fall apart, exposing people to the risk of electrocution.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has issued a prohibition notice banning the importation, sale and use of theadaptors, which are used to allow a foreign power plug to connect to the New Zealand power supply.

MBIE Energy Safety compliance officer Richard Lamb said the unbranded travel adaptors were typically sold online, either individually or with electrical goods, such as tablets and smartphones.

"We've had almost a dozen complaints from Trade Me members who received the adaptors as part of Christmas gifts, only to have the casings come away when they are plugged into a power socket, exposing the metal pins inside," he said.

"These adaptors are incredibly dangerous, especially for curious children and pets.

"In one case a teenage girl was using the adaptor in her bedroom to charge her new mobile phone. If she had touched the exposed live parts, she would have been seriously injured or worse."

Lamb said the adaptors were of poor construction, had uninsulated pins, and did not meet international electrical safety standards.

"Even if the outer casing does not come off, they are still unsafe in failing to provide adequate protection from exposure to live parts," he said.

Anyone caught importing or selling the adaptors would face an instant fine of $1000 for individuals or $3000 for businesses.

"For people who already own one, do not use it," Lamb said.

"Anyone who has purchase electrical products supplied with a plug adaptor of any kind should return to the seller and ask for a power supply or charger appropriate for New Zealand that does not require an adaptor."

The prohibition notice issued under the Electricity (Safety) Regulations 2010 takes effect immediately.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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