Are you aware of the mandatory product safety standards in Australia? If you are planning to sell a product in Australia, either locally manufactured or imported, you need to make sure that it is safe to use for the end user.
Australian Consumer Law specifies tough penalties for defective products which could be as high as 10% of the annual turnover of the preceding 12 months or $10,000,000 or 3 times the value of the benefit received. In today’s blog post, we will explore product safety compliance and how it is conducted.
Why Is Testing Needed?
Australian Consumer Law provides certain guarantees to consumers of goods and services. It includes product safety among other things.
While there are mandatory safety standards for several products, most products are covered by voluntary standards. The suppliers, manufacturers, importers, retailers and others involved in the supply chain are required to demonstrate compliance with specifications outlined in a standard by way of getting the tests done in accredited laboratories and getting the required certificate.
Testing helps in building documentary evidence that suppliers/manufacturers/retailers did meet the required standards before introducing a product into the Australian market. It also helps in reducing the probability of costly recalls of unsafe or non-compliant products. It also helps in avoiding the risk of potential brand reputation damage due to injuries or legal action related to unsafe products.
There are various methods of conducting product safety compliance testing. Depending on the type of product you are selling, you have the option of the following:
Own testing — Here you conduct your own tests with proper in-house facilities and expertise. You must define certain voluntary standards and make sure every product that comes out of your facility adheres to those voluntary standards in case there aren’t any mandatory standards for that product.
Certification agency — If you are selling a product where you need to have certain certification and labelling such as the RCM Mark or CE Mark, you need to commission the services of a certification agency to thoroughly assess the products and provide a certificate that the product complies with relevant safety standards. Obtaining that certification allows you to label your product with that particular safety mark.
Accredited laboratories — You can also engage the services of independent and accredited laboratories to conduct certain tests and provide you with test reports. These reports will tell you whether your product is in compliance with particular standards or if there are any other problems with the product.
Obtaining certificates — If you are selling imported products, you are still responsible for ensuring safety compliance. In such cases, you should ask your suppliers to provide evidence of safety compliance by obtaining copies of the test reports from accredited laboratories or test bodies.
Types of Testing and Relevant Standards
Different types of testing and standards apply to different types of products. At Compliance Engineering, we offer product safety testing services for several product categories. Here are a few examples:
Household electrical appliances such as clothes dryers, immersion heaters, fabric steamers, deep fat fryers, vaporisers, humidifiers and others. The standards that apply to these products include AS/NZS IEC EN 60335.1, AS/NZS IEC EN 60335.2.74, AS/NZS 3136 and others.
Power suppliers such as power transformers, power supply units, safety isolating transformers and similar equipment. The standards that apply to these products include AS/NZS IEC EN 61558.1, AS/NZS IEC EN 61558.2.8 and others.
Power tools such as handheld motor-operated electric tools, lawn and garden machinery and transportable tools. Standards that apply to such products include AS/NZS 60745 series.
IP & flammability testing for various products. Standards that apply to these products include AS/NZS IEC EN 60112, RTCA DO-160G, Section 26, AS/NZS IEC EN 60695.2.12 and others.
Energy efficiency performance test of external power suppliers. Standards applicable to these products include AS/NZS 4665.1 and AS/NZS 4665. 2.
Electrical components such as airbrake switches, cord extension sets, electrical portable output devices, insulating mouldings and others. Standards applicable to these products include AS/NZS 3100, AS/NZS 3199, AS/NZS 3133 and others.
Audio/Video and ITE products such as smartphones, video cameras, printers, scanners, electronic musical instruments, network equipment, shredding machines and others. Standards applicable to these products include AS/NZS IEC EN 62368.1.
Medical electrical devices for use in home care and emergency medical services environment. Standards applicable to these products include AS/NZS IEC EN 60601.1.
Measuring instruments such as electrically operated valve actuators, laboratory centrifuge, laboratory equipment for heating materials, in vitro diagnostic medical equipment, sterilizers and others. Standards applicable to these products include AS IEC EN 61010.1, IEC EN 61010-2-202.
To conclude, product safety compliance testing is conducted to make sure that the product is safe to use for the end consumer. There are mandatory standards for certain products and there are also voluntary standards for others. It is the legal responsibility of the manufacturer, supplier, importer and retailer to ensure compliance with relevant safety standards. If a product poses a risk to the consumer or causes an injury, it may be recalled and heavy penalties may be involved on the participants involved in the supply chain.
Compliance Engineering is an A2LA-accredited safety test laboratory. We offer product safety testing with modern test instruments as per Australian and international standards. Our experts are capable of checking products for all the technical details including rating labels, PCB designs, instruction manual and various components of the product to ensure that a product is safe to be sold in the Australian and international markets.