New mandatory standards for button battery products

New mandatory standards come into effect on June 22, 2022, for all button batteries and products containing button batteries.

These new standards are being introduced to stop the catastrophic injuries and deaths of young children that can occur when button batteries are ingested, stuck in a child’s throat or inserted into orifices such as a child’s nose or ears. Serious injury (such as internal burns and bleeding) and death can occur within as little two hours.

Button butteries are found in many common items throughout the home, including key fobs, cameras, toys, watches, fitness devices, musical greeting cards and remote controls for window blinds and coverings.

The ACCC says: “Children can access button batteries in a variety of ways, including:

• products with battery compartments that are not secure

• button battery packaging that is not child resistant

• poor quality products which release button batteries when dropped or broken

• spare batteries being provided loose in product packaging

• spare batteries not being kept out of reach around the home

• used batteries not being properly disposed of.”

The new mandatory rules affect packaging, warning labels and battery compartments. Accredited testing for all products containing button batteries and button battery packaging must show that products for supply have been tested and comply with the new Mandatory Standards.

“Time is running out for manufacturers and suppliers to ensure their products are compliant,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.  

“Once the standards become mandatory the ACCC will focus on enforcement action.”

The maximum penalties under the Australian Consumer Law for offering or supplying consumer goods that do not comply with a Mandatory Standard or which are banned are:

• for corporations the greater of:

$10 million; or

three times the value of the benefit received; or

10% of annual turnover in preceding 12 months, if the court cannot determine benefit obtained from the offence.

• and $500,000 for individuals.

Lynn Potesil from the Blind Manufacturers’ Association of Australia (BMAA) says that guides to the Mandatory Safety & Information Standards for button batteries, products containing button batteries and many others have been developed by the BMAA compliance partner Watchdog Compliance and are accessible to all BMAA members for free. 

“These guides include details of the required warnings, instructions, packaging and product testing and include a supplier verification form that can be used to confirm compliance with the Mandatory Standards,” Potesil said.

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