Faulty products continue to cause serious injury and harm to thousands of Australians, with more than 4.5 million items recalled by suppliers in the 2017-18 financial year.
New figures show at least 10 people a day are injured and require medical attention as a result of unsafe products, according to mandatory reports provided to the ACCC by manufacturers and retailers.
“Ten injuries a day due to defective products is alarming, but we suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg as many more consumers don’t report injuries to the product suppliers at all,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
“Australians would be surprised to hear that it is not illegal to supply unsafe products in Australia, as it is in a range of places like the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Malaysia and Brazil.
“The number of Australians being injured by unsafe products is far too high, and we encourage people to sign up to recalls information or follow us on social media so they can be alerted to any potential risks in their homes.”
Of the types of products the ACCC has sole responsibility for recalling, the highest represented categories included outdoor and camping products, kitchenware, furniture and items for babies and kids.
“Parents and people with young children are encouraged to be aware of recalls that may affect products they have in their home,” she said.
“But the high numbers of injuries across Australia indicate many people will be injured or know someone who has been injured by an unsafe product at some point during their lives.”
The ACCC says the consistently high number of recalls suggest the need for a General Safety Provision, currently being considered by Consumer Affairs Ministers, which would require businesses to ensure the safety of the goods they sell.
Key recalls for 2017/18:
- Compulsory Takata airbag recall: deadly airbags fitted in one in four vehicles
- Infinity cable recall: faulty electrical cabling installed in homes that is a fire or electrocution risk
- Samsung washing machine: faulty wiring resulting in house fires
- Safetech hardware pool gate latches: latch may lock in open position allowing access to pool areas resulting in drowning
You can sign up for email alerts on the products that interest you and you can also report an unsafe product to the ACCC by completing a simple web form to help protect others from harm.
The Product Safety Australia website also provides safety education and explains which specialist agencies have responsibility for products not managed by the ACCC.