Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

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Standards/Product Safety as made
This instrument prescribes design and testing requirements for consumer goods containing button and coin batteries under the Australian Consumer Law.
Administered by: Treasury
Exempt from sunsetting by the Legislation (Exemptions and Other Matters) Regulation 2015 s12 item 16
Registered 21 Dec 2020
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR02-Feb-2021
Tabled Senate02-Feb-2021

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020

Overview

In March 2019, the Commonwealth Assistant Treasurer issued a Safety Warning Notice about the dangers of button/coin batteries and in April 2019, requested that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) expedite a regulatory impact assessment process for developing regulation to address button/coin battery safety.

The Commonwealth Assistant Treasurer (the Minister), has made a safety standard for consumer goods containing button/coin batteries pursuant to section 104 of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), which is Schedule 2 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) (CCA).

This safety standard has been introduced to reduce the risk of fatality and injury associated with the use of button/coin batteries. Button/coin batteries can cause severe injury and even death if swallowed, particularly for young children aged 0-5 years.

In Australia and globally, there is a growing record of serious injuries and deaths of children from button/coin batteries. In Australia, three children have tragically died as a result of swallowing a coin battery and there is an increasing number of young children suffering severe injuries following the ingestion or insertion of button/coin batteries. Globally, since 1977, there has been at least 66 deaths and thousands of exposures and injuries with some children sustaining lifelong injuries requiring ongoing treatments.

This instrument forms part of a package of safety and information standards to improve the product safety of consumer goods containing button/coin batteries, as well as button/coin batteries themselves. This safety standard for consumer goods containing button/coin batteries has been developed in conjunction with the following instruments:

·         Consumer Goods (Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020

·         Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Information Standard 2020

·         Consumer Goods (Button/Coin Batteries) Information Standard 2020.

The estimated cost to the Australian economy of button/coin battery related fatalities, injuries and exposures is at least $47.5 million during a 10-year forecast period of 2022-2031.

Button/coin batteries are flat, round single cell batteries with a diameter of up to 32 mm which range in height from 1-11 mm. These batteries are referred to as button or coin cell batteries. In this instrument, they are collectively referred to as ‘button/coin batteries’. Button/coin batteries generally operate using one of four chemistries: lithium, alkaline, silver oxide and zinc air. Lithium button/coin batteries pose the highest risk. Their typically larger diameter means they are more likely to become stuck in a child’s oesophagus if ingested and their higher voltage means they can cause tissue damage more quickly.

Available data indicates that children gained access to button/coin batteries directly from the product in almost two thirds of cases where the source of the battery was known.


 

Purpose

The purpose of this safety standard is to reduce the risk of death or serious injury to children as a result of accessing button/coin batteries from products. The safety risk to children from button/coin batteries can arise where they gain access to the batteries from consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries that either do not have secure battery compartments or which easily release the batteries. This may occur when poor quality products are dropped or broken.

A secure battery compartment is the most crucial safeguard to improve safety by preventing children from accessing button/coin batteries. To ensure an acceptable level of safety, consumer goods containing button/coin batteries should be subjected to secure battery requirements and compliance testing. This is aimed at ensuring that:

·         Consumer goods containing button/coin batteries that are intended to be replaced by the consumer have a secure battery compartment that is resistant to being opened by young children.

·         Consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries, whether or not the batteries are intended to be replaced, would be required to be secure and not release the batteries during reasonably foreseeable use or misuse conditions.

Requirements

This safety standard includes requirements for all consumer goods containing button/coin batteries. Consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries include consumer goods that use, are powered by, or are intended to operate with button/coin batteries, as well as consumer goods designed or intended to store button/coin batteries, such as storage containers and organisers. Accessories of consumer goods, such as remote controls that contain button/coin batteries, are subject to the requirements of this safety standard.

This safety standard requires consumer goods containing button/coin batteries to have secure battery compartments, where the batteries are intended to be replaced, and compliance testing, whether or not the batteries are intended to be replaced, to demonstrate the battery is secure and not released during reasonably foreseeable use or misuse conditions.

Consumer goods containing button/coin batteries (whether or not the batteries are intended to be replaced) must be secure and not release the batteries during reasonably foreseeable use or misuse conditions. These secure battery requirements apply for all consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries, regardless of the size or chemistry of the button/coin battery suitable for the product.

This safety standard provides alternative options to conform to the secure battery requirements and references compliance tests in industry standards that are deemed to have acceptable battery security and compliance testing requirements. To demonstrate compliance with the requirements of this safety standard, suppliers of consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries may choose to comply with the set of compliance tests that are referenced in either:

·         one of the product-specific industry standards – that is, industry standards that apply vertically to a specific product category; or

·         a non-product specific industry standard – that is, an industry standard that applies horizontally to products that contain button/coin batteries.

Suppliers of consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries must perform compliance tests to demonstrate that the requirements of this safety standard have been met. On request by a regulator, a supplier must nominate the set of compliance tests that the supplier has relied upon to demonstrate compliance with this safety standard.

Where a supplier chooses to comply with a product-specific industry standard that is referenced in this safety standard, they must comply with the set of requirements and compliance tests of that applicable industry standard that are referenced.

Where a supplier chooses to comply with the non-product specific industry standard referenced in this safety standard, they must comply with the set of requirements and compliance tests of the non-product specific standard as well as the captive fastener requirement and related compliance test. The captive fastener requirement is intended to ensure that the fastener used to secure a battery compartment, such as a screw, remains with the door or cover and applies to consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries where the battery is intended to be replaced. This is aimed at avoiding the potential loss of the fastener at the time of replacing the batteries.

Given the wide variety of consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries, this safety standard affords a degree of flexibility where a referenced compliance test in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good. In the event that a test specified in a product-specific industry standard referenced in this safety standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good, an alternative test may be applied. This is on the condition that the application of the alternative test, along with the other specified tests of the product-specific industry standard, ensures that the relevant requirement of the safety standard is met.  An example of where an alternative test may be necessary is designer watches where impact and crush tests may not be economical to apply but alternative tests can be applied to demonstrate that the batteries are not released during reasonably foreseeable use and misuse conditions.

This safety standard also includes a specific requirement and compliance test to ensure secureness of button/coin batteries in consumer goods where the battery is not intended to be replaced and the battery is accessible to the consumer. This section only applies to consumer goods where the battery is not intended to be replaced and the battery is accessible. A button/coin battery is accessible where the consumer good has an opening and the battery is not contained in a secure battery compartment or otherwise fully enclosed inside the consumer good. An example of when this test should be applied is for musical greeting cards which include a button/coin battery that is not intended to be replaced but that may be accessible to consumers through an opening. This secureness test is intended for relevant consumer goods where the accessibility of button/coin batteries is not typically associated with the security of the battery compartment, but rather the overall security of the battery in the consumer good.

Tests may be performed using suitable in-house expertise/facilities or by external testing bodies/laboratories.

Exemptions

This safety standard does not apply to hearing aids. Hearing aids do not pose the same risk as other products because of their near exclusive use of button batteries of zinc-air chemistry which have a lower risk profile relative to other button/coin battery types. Elderly users of hearing aids with poor eyesight or limited dexterity may have difficulties accessing secure battery compartments and such a requirement would significantly reduce the usability and accessibility of hearing aids for these hearing aid users.

This safety standard does not apply to consumer goods that were first supplied to a consumer before the requirements became mandatory. Consumer goods that are supplied after the requirements became mandatory are subject to the requirements of this safety standard, including when re-supplied as second-hand goods, unless the re-supply is a one-off transaction being made by a consumer, such as a private sale.   

This safety standard does not apply to professional equipment, such as specialist trade tools and other professional products, subject to certain criteria that is focused on the risk profile of the product. For the purposes of this exemption, products are only deemed to be professional equipment where all of the following apply: (1) the equipment is intended to be used in trades, professions or industries; (2) the equipment is not intended for sale to the general public; and (3) the equipment is not intended to be used where children are present.

This safety standard does not apply to audio-visual and information and communications technology equipment containing button/coin batteries that are soldered in place.

Definitions

Australian (Audio/Video) Standard means the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 62368‑1:2018 Audio/video, information and communication technology equipment‑Part 1: Safety requirements, published jointly by, or on behalf of, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

Australian (Electric Toys) Standard means the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 62115:2018 Electric toys—Safety, published jointly by, or on behalf of, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

Australian (Safety of Toys) Standard means the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 8124.1:2019 Safety of Toys‑Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties, published jointly by, or on behalf of, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

Electronic Apparatus Standard means the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 60065:2018 Audio, video and similar electronic apparatus‑Safety requirements, published jointly by, or on behalf of, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

International (Audio/Video) Standard means the International Standard IEC 62368‑1:2018 Audio/video, information and communication technology equipment‑Part 1: Safety requirements, published jointly by, or on behalf of, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

International (Electric Toys) Standard means the International Standard IEC 62115:2017 Electric toys—Safety, published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

International (Safety of Toys) Standard means the International Standard ISO 8124.1:2019 Safety of Toys‑Safety aspects related to mechanical and physical properties, published by the International Organization for Standardization, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

Lithium Technologies Standard means UL 4200A UL Standard for Safety for Products Incorporating Button or Coin Cell Batteries of Lithium Technologies, as published by UL Standards, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.


 

Luminaires Standard means the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 60598.1:2017 Luminaires Part 1: General requirements and tests, published jointly by, or on behalf of, Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, as in force or existing at the time when this instrument commences.

Access to Australian and international standards

Where practical, product safety legislative instruments only reference extrinsic material that is readily accessible for free by the public. However, as in the current case, many product safety legislative instruments need to incorporate extrinsic technical standards over which certain bodies have copyright, which means the standards must be purchased.

The following standards could in 2020 be purchased from SAI Global’s website (https://www.saiglobal.com):

·         The Australian (Audio/Video) Standard

·         The Australian (Electric Toys) Standard

·         The Australian (Safety of Toys) Standard

·         The Electronic Apparatus Standard

·         The International (Audio/Video) Standard

·         The International (Electric Toys) Standard

·         The International (Safety of Toys) Standard

·         The Luminaires Standard.

The Lithium Technologies Standard could in 2020 be purchased from the UL Standards’ website (https://standardscatalog.ul.com)

The ACCC can also make a copy of these standards available for viewing at one of its offices, subject to licensing conditions.

Consultation

Section 131E of the CCA provides that a safety standard made under section 104 of the ACL is a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislation Act 2003. Section 17 of the Legislation Act requires that the rule maker should consult prior to making a legislative instrument.

The ACCC released an issues paper in August 2019 and received 32 submissions from stakeholders in response to questions in relation to the issue of button/coin battery safety and how the safety hazards posed by button/coin batteries should be addressed. The issues paper was a necessary first step in the regulatory assessment process due to the wide range of products likely to be affected by any mandatory standard.

The ACCC released a Button Battery Safety - Assessment of regulatory options - consultation paper in March 2020. The consultation paper sought stakeholder feedback on proposed regulatory options to reduce the likelihood of serious injuries resulting from child exposure to button/coin batteries. The ACCC received 67 submissions in response to the consultation paper from a broad range of stakeholders, including national and international representative bodies, medical experts, relevant government agencies, international product safety regulators and advocacy organisations.

In addition to the two formal consultation periods, the ACCC met individually with 43 key stakeholders and also distributed surveys to industry and health professionals.

The ACCC also notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of proposed requirements for the button/coin battery related safety and information standards on 29 September 2020 under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.

Disallowance

This legislative instrument is not subject to disallowance due to section 44 of the Legislation Act 2003.

Commencement

This legislative instrument commences on the day after it is registered on the Federal Register of Legislation.

Transitional arrangements

This instrument provides a transitional period of 18 months, beginning on the day this instrument commences.

Sunsetting

This legislative instrument is not subject to sunsetting due to section 54 of the Legislation Act 2003.

Regulation impact assessment

The ACCC has self-certified that a process equivalent to that of a Regulation Impact Assessment has been undertaken. Office of Best Practice Regulation Ref. 25774

Details of the Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020

Part 1 - Preliminary

Section 1 – Name

This section provides the title of the legislative instrument is the Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020.

Section 2 – Commencement

This section provides that the instrument commences on the day after it is registered.

Section 3 – Authority

This section provides that the safety standard is made under section 104 of the ACL.

Section 4 – Definitions

This section provides the definitions of terms used in the safety standard.

The Australian Audio/Video, Electric Toys and Safety of Toys Standards are based on the respective IEC and ISO standards. Both versions are provided because the Australian version contains region-specific modifications.

Section 5 - Applicable industry standards taken to apply to consumer goods with button/coin batteries

This section provides that referenced industry standards are taken to apply to all consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries even if the scope of the specific standard is more limited.

For example, some industry standards apply button/coin battery safety requirements only to products that contain batteries of lithium technology. The purpose of this section is to ensure that the requirements apply to all consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries regardless of the type of battery used in the product.

Section 6 – Application

This section provides that the safety standard applies to consumer goods that contain a button/coin battery.

The section also provides that the safety standard does not apply to hearing aids, second-hand goods where the re-supply is a one-off transaction made by a consumer, professional equipment subject to certain criteria, and some specific equipment where the battery is soldered into place.

Part 2 – Requirements

Division 1 – Introduction

Section 7 – Requirements to be complied with on and after application day

This section provides that consumer goods containing button/coin batteries must comply with the requirements of this safety standard from the application day.

Division 2 – Details of requirements

Section 8 – Button/coin batteries must not release during reasonably foreseeable use and misuse conditions

This section identifies the requirement that consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries, whether or not the battery is intended to be replaced, must not release batteries during reasonably foreseeable use and misuse conditions.

This section identifies the alternative options to comply with this requirement, being the set of compliance tests that are referenced in either a product-specific industry standard or a non-product specific industry standard. This section also identifies the option where a referenced test in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good.

This section refers to other sections that detail the specific compliance tests to be satisfied to meet the requirement of this section.

The purpose of this section is to ensure that button/coin batteries remain fully secured inside consumer goods and do not release when subjected to reasonably foreseeable use or misuse.

Section 9 - Compartment holding button/coin batteries must be resistant to being opened by young children

This section identifies the requirement that consumer goods that contain a button/coin battery that is intended to be replaced by the consumer, must be designed to ensure that the compartment is resistant to being opened by young children.

This section identifies the alternative options to comply with this requirement, being the set of compliance tests that are referenced in either a product-specific industry standard or a non-product specific industry standard. This section separately refers to audio/video and electronic apparatus standards and safety of toys standards due to the slightly different combination of tests to be applied – in the case of toy standards, relevant compliance tests are contained across two separate industry standards. This section also identifies the option where a referenced test in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good.

This section refers to other sections that detail the specific of compliance tests to be satisfied to meet the requirement of this section.

The purpose of this section is to ensure that consumer goods containing button/coin batteries that are intended to be replaced by the consumer have secure battery compartments that are resistant to being opened by young children.

Section 10 - Fasteners for doors or covers to compartments holding button/coin batteries must be captive etc.

This section identifies the requirement for consumer goods with battery compartments that are secured with a screw or a similar fastener. It requires that the screw or similar fastener must be captive to the battery compartment door, or equipment cover.

This captive fastener requirement only applies where the requirement of section 8 is satisfied by complying with the non-product specific industry standard. Where a supplier chooses to satisfy the requirement of section 8 by complying with a product-specific industry standard, this section does not apply where the referenced product-specific industry standard does not include a captive fastener requirement or test.

This section identifies specific compliance tests in relevant industry standards to be performed to demonstrate compliance with this requirement. It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.

The purpose of this section is to ensure that, where applicable, the fastener used to secure a battery compartment, such as a screw, remains with the door or cover to avoid the potential loss of the fastener at the time of replacing button/coin batteries.

Section 11 - Secureness of consumer goods with non-replaceable button/coin battery accessible by consumers must be tested

This section identifies a specific requirement to ensure secureness of button/coin batteries in consumer goods where the battery is not intended to be replaced and the battery is accessible to the consumer.

A battery is accessible where the consumer good has an opening and the battery is not contained in a secure battery compartment or otherwise fully enclosed inside the consumer good.


 

This section identifies a specific compliance test in the non-product specific industry standard to be performed to demonstrate compliance with this requirement. It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.

The purpose of this section is to ensure that, where applicable, a button/coin battery that is not intended to be replaced and is not fully enclosed inside the consumer good, is secure and does not release.

Division 3 – Product-specific standards

Section 12 - Satisfying section ^8 with product-specific standards

This section identifies the specific compliance tests in product-specific industry standards that can be performed to demonstrate compliance with the requirement in section 8. It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.

This section also provides that, where a test specified in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good, an alternative test may be applied. This is on the condition that the application of the alternative test, along with the other specified tests of the product-specific industry standard, ensures that the requirement in section 8 is satisfied. That is, button/coin batteries are not released during reasonably foreseeable use and misuse conditions.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance in accordance with the alternative test, along with other specified tests that are appropriate.

Section 13 - Satisfying section ^9 with Audio/Video and Electronic Apparatus Standards

This section identifies the specific compliance tests in audio/video and electronic apparatus industry standards that can be performed to demonstrate compliance with the requirement in section 9. It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.

This section also provides that, where a test specified in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good, an alternative test may be applied. This is on the condition that the application of the alternative test, along with the other specified tests of the product-specific industry standard, ensures that the requirement in section 9 is satisfied. That is, the compartment in which the battery is held is resistant to being opened by young children.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance in accordance with the alternative test, along with other specified tests that are appropriate.

Section 14 - Satisfying section ^9 with Luminaires Standard

This section identifies the specific compliance tests in the luminaires standard that can be performed to demonstrate compliance with the requirement in section 9. It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.


 

This section also provides that, where a test specified in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good, an alternative test may be applied. This is on the condition that the application of the alternative test, along with the other specified tests of the product-specific industry standard, ensures that the requirement in section 9 is satisfied. That is, the compartment in which the battery is held is resistant to being opened by young children.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance in accordance with the alternative test, along with other specified tests that are appropriate.

Section 15 - Satisfying section ^9 with Safety of Toys Standards

This section identifies the specific compliance tests in toy industry standards that can be performed to demonstrate compliance with the requirement in section 9.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.

This section also provides that, where a test specified in a product-specific industry standard is not appropriate for a particular consumer good, an alternative test may be applied. This is on the condition that the application of the alternative test, along with the other specified tests of the product-specific industry standard, ensures that the requirement in section 9 is satisfied. That is, the compartment in which the battery is held is resistant to being opened by young children.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance in accordance with the alternative test, along with other specified tests that are appropriate.

Division 4 – Non-product-specific standards

Section 16 – Satisfying section ^8 with non-product-specific standards

This section identifies the specific compliance tests in the non-product specific industry standard that can be performed to demonstrate compliance with the requirement in section 8.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.

Section 17 – Satisfying section ^9 with non-product-specific standards

This section identifies the specific compliance tests in the non-product specific industry standard that can be to demonstrate compliance with the requirements in section 9.

It is required that representative samples of the consumer good are tested to demonstrate compliance.