Electrical Appliances Safety
Small household electrical appliances are part of our daily life and they require being not only durable but also safe for everyday use. These products are used by normal consumers and/or non-professionals and are easily found in shops or online.
It is considered to be present in more than 80% of the European households and though these kinds of products have achieved a good overall safety level, there are still a large number of unsafe products.
The first action of its kind was undertaken within the framework of the Joint Action 2015 and is focusing on blenders, mixers and small kitchen heating appliances such as toasters. The problems presented by these products are numerous: poor internal wiring that may cause fires or electric shocks to the user, accessible hot surfaces that may cause burns or moving blades that may cause cuts or break up during normal operation. Also, another issue that should be taken into account is the fact that these products may be offered on sale at very low prices and without having been manufactured in line with the legal requirements applied in Europe.
Household electrical appliances were prioritised and addressed as a product group for the second time under the Joint Action 2016 (JA2016) for checking their safety in use. This time, the activity focussed on household hairdryers, curling irons and hair straighteners. In fact, there have been more than 30 RAPEX/Rapid Alert System notifications since 2012 with safety concerns such as poor user instructions, accessible live parts, severe overheating and burns from hot surfaces. For these reasons, 12 market surveillance authorities from the twelve European Economic Area (EEA) countries cooperated in this project to examine and test the compliance and safety of 109 products.
Portable room heaters are electrical equipment for household use within the scope of Directive 2014/35/EU. They include convector heaters, fan heaters, liquid-filled radiators and radiant or tubular heaters. Users of portable room heaters may be exposed to the risk of electric shock or electrocution, fire, burns from accessible hot surfaces and burn injuries from leakage of hot oil and other chemicals. The elderly and other vulnerable users are particularly at risk, as portable room heaters are often the only form of heating for elderly users. In the last eight years there have been 49 Rapid Alert System notifications in the heating appliance category with 32 of those relating to portable room heaters. The majority posed a serious risk with product recalls initiated by the economic operators themselves.
The types of products in focus under the Joint Action on Harmonised Products 2018 (JAHARP18) are:
- Fan heaters including those having a ceramic heating element;
- Convector (flow) heaters;
- Oil-filled radiators;
- Radiant heaters including tower constructions.
The goal of this action is to survey the state of compliance and safety of over 100 portable room heaters placed on the EU market. More specifically, the purpose of testing is to identify dangerous non-compliances so that a market surveillance authority can decide whether a specific portable room heater poses a risk to consumers and, if so, what enforcement measures/corrective actions should be taken against it.
Under the JAHARP2020 Triplet built up from 8 product compliance assessment activities and one horizontal, USB chargers were prioritised for compliance controls and laboratory testing as these products present numerous serious hazards to consumers/users. This is reflected on relatively high number of Rapid Alert System notifications issued in the last few years for this product. Data in the European Commission’s ICSMS (Information and Communication System for Market Surveillance) and the Safety Gate indicate that a large number of USB chargers offered for sale via various e-commerce channels and online platforms do not fulfil all the essential safety requirements of the applicable Union legislation. The main hazard associated with USB chargers is electric shock.
15 market surveillance authorities from 15 European countries participate in this activity to check and remove non-compliant USB chargers from the Single Market through cross-border cooperation in the form of compliance controls, testing and enforcement activities. The estimated number of products to be sampled and tested by the activity are 140.
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