Cheap imports come at a tragic price
A company and its director have been fined $1.2 million after selling a faulty submersible pump that caused a woman to be electrocuted to death.
Pump Factory Pty Ltd had imported hundreds of the pumps from a Chinese manufacturer and resold them under its own name and the brand names Kasa Pumps and Kasa Factory.
The company and its director failed to ensure that the pumps were electrically safe and met the relevant Australian Standard before selling them on to the Australian market.
Queensland’s Electrical Safety Office (ESO) found in its investigation that the pumps were of substandard quality and poorly designed, allowing internal wires to tangle, rip out of their connections and come into contact with the metal body of the pump.
Pump Factory Pty Ltd was charged with breaching section 33 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (Qld) (the ES Act) for failing to ensure the pumps were electrically safe, as well as section 40C of the ES Act for failing to comply with its electrical safety duty and exposing individuals to the risk of death or serious injury or illness.
Zoran Kacavenda, the company’s sole director, was charged with breaching section 38 of the ES Act for failing his duty to exercise due diligence as a company officer.
Both parties pleaded guilty to the offences and were fined $1 million and $200,000 respectively.
Head of the ESO, Victoria Thomson, said the ruling was a stark reminder for importers to ensure their products are safe before importing or offering them for sale in Australia.
“Anyone who imports electrical goods for sale in Australia must ensure they meet Australian standards and are tested to be electrically safe,” she said.
“The consequences of failing to meet this requirement are extremely serious – and in this instance, tragic.
“This is also a strong warning for consumers shopping online for electrical products. Make sure your seller is contactable, then make a point of asking them if their product meets Australian safety standards before you buy.
“Consumers have a right to be electrically safe when they buy electrical products, despite the enormous growth in online stores.
“Be very wary if you cannot verify the company’s business details. You cannot think too much about safety when you’re buying online.”
Ms Thomson also noted that the pump in the woman’s home had no electrical safety switch installed on the circuit it was plugged into, which could have prevented her death.
“Despite your best efforts to buy wisely, there’s still no way of knowing what work has been done on your home before you moved into it – or if any of your appliances are going to become electrically unsafe,” she said.
“The most effective way to protect against this risk is to have safety switches installed on all circuits in your home. Put simply, safety switches save lives.”
Pump Factory Pty Ltd has recalled the faulty pumps and most have been returned, however the ESO has warned anyone who still owns one to stop using it immediately and contact the supplier at [email protected] or 1300 718 025 to organise a refund.
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