There has been a lot of publicity about the extreme dangers of button batteries where children have access and swallow them. I think button batteries are the most challenging ever product safety problem. Much work has been done to alert consumers and make loose batteries more difficult to access. But until now, there hasn’t been much action on the products that run on button batteries.
A new industry code has been developed in Australia to inform and guide all businesses that make and sell products that run on button batteries. Importantly, the code is aimed at all products, not just those intended for children.
Such is the severity of the hazard with children swallowing button batteries, the remedy requires attention by all levels of the supply chain and across the range of consumer goods.
The Industry Code for Consumer Goods that contain Button Batteries was developed by business and industry representatives, in consultation with technical experts and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The code explains the need for products containing button batteries to have secure battery compartments. It provides guidance on how to make compartments secure and makes this a requirement for complying with the code.
The code also requires consumer information at point of sale.
A copy of the code is available for download via the ACCC’s Product Safety website.
Design is always the best way to eliminate hazards, and should always factor in the environment in which the product will be used.
Included in the code are further suggestions on addressing the battery problem. These include avoiding use of batteries altogether in the product design, or designing for use with a different type of battery.
All businesses supplying consumer goods can use the code to:
- conduct a range review
- check current merchandise
- audit purchasing guidelines
- ensure buying staff awareness
- insist on compliance with the code for all stock purchases
An industry-driven code is a great initiative. Product safety doesn’t have to rely on government regulation. All suppliers now have the know-how for implementing safe products in the face of this highly dangerous, universal problem.
Compliance with the code is a way for all suppliers to help prevent catastrophic injuries and fatalities in our youngest citizens.
Further items about button batteries on this website:
Blog article: Button batteries everywhere
Interview podcast and transcript: Product safety podcast – Button battery interview