WA: Ethanol burner ban reminder following serious incident in Perth

Published: 
2 May 2019

A decorative alcohol-fuelled (ethanol) burner exploded in a suburban backyard in Perth’s southern suburbs at the weekend, prompting a reminder to consumers that certain table-top models have been banned.

The explosion on Saturday evening 27 April 2019 is believed to have been sparked by a burner being re-fuelled while still lit and injured four people, including a child, who were taken to hospital. The device was purchased about ten years ago prior to the ban being in place.

A national safety standard for these burners came into effect in July 2017 after a Safety Bay woman suffered serious burns to her face and upper body. Since 2010 the burners have caused more than 100 injuries and 36 house fires in Australia and at least three deaths overseas.

The standard prevents the supply of table top devices (devices which weigh less than 8 kilograms or have a footprint less than 900 square centimetres) and requires freestanding and fixed devices to meet a stability test, come with a fuel container with a flame arrester (or an automatic fuel pump system) and display warnings on the device about refuelling hazards. Products intended for cooking or heating are exempt.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said some table top models have been banned since December 2016 following concerns about the danger of the burners exploding.

“We are concerned that there are many of these dangerous products purchased prior to the ban that are still being used in the community and we appeal to consumers to discontinue their use and either dispose of them or take them back to the retailer for a refund,” Ms Chopping said.

“The new safety standard aims to address the cause of many incidents which is the re-fuelling of the unit from the same opening as the burner. The burner’s flame is often hard to see and injuries commonly occur when consumers refuel the device when it is still lit or warm, as has happened in this recent incident.

“There is also a risk of the burner being easily knocked over, especially by children or pets, potentially causing serious burns and damage to property.

“Retailers and suppliers are reminded that there is a mandatory reporting requirement so they need to pass on reports of incidents or injuries to the ACCC.”

Consumers, retailers and suppliers can go to the Product Safety Australia website to get further information on the safety standard. Enquiries or reports of unsafe products being sold in WA can be made by emailing Consumer Protection at consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au or by calling 1300 30 40 54.

 

Media contact: Alan Hynd
Tel: (08) 6552 9248/0429 078 791
Email: alan.hynd@dmirs.wa.gov.au  

WA Consumer Protection (Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety)