Interim ban on sale of portable decorative alcohol-fuelled burners

The NSW Government has approved an interim ban on the sale of portable decorative alcohol-fuelled burners, due to concerns about their safety.

Across Australia, there have been 113 injuries and 115 fire incidents linked to these products since 2010. In NSW, there were 51 incidents reported during the same period, with 34 resulting in injuries.

When this kind of burner is low on fuel, the flame can be difficult to see, and some injuries have occurred when consumers try to re-fuel a device that is in fact still alight. Another risk is people or pets knocking over a lit burner, causing a fire.

The government has approved a 60-day ban on the sale of portable decorative alcohol-fuelled burners. It came into force early this morning (Wednesday 21 December 2016).

“While educational material is available on how to use these burners safely, the number and severity of injuries justifies a product safety ban,” NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said.

“Other jurisdictions around Australia are imposing similar bans, and we are working with them to protect consumers from the potential dangers of these products.

“Retailers and NSW-based online traders must take the banned products off their shelves or delete them from online catalogues, and cease sales immediately. Steep penalties will apply to retailers who continue to sell them.

“If you own a decorative alcohol-fuelled burner or find one under the Christmas tree, don’t use it. Consumers are entitled to a refund from the business that sold it,” he said.

The ban only applies to portable or table-top alcohol-fuelled burners. It does not include fixed alcohol-fuelled fireplaces; products used in the heating or warming of food; or products with a power output of more than 4.5 kW.

While the ban is in place, NSW Fair Trading and other consumer agencies will conduct further investigations into the burners’ safety and suitability for sale. Further information about the interim ban is available at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.

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