NSW: Australia Day warning on BBQs and small gas cookers

24 Jan 2013

In the lead up to Australia Day, NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe is urging the community to stay safe this Australia Day by carefully reading instructions when using small gas cookers, commonly known as lunchbox cookers.

“Barbecues, picnics and camping trips are an Australia Day tradition, but don’t let your barbecue cause unwanted flames,” he said.

“All gas barbeques and small camping gas appliances must be approved to be legally sold, so make sure the product has an approval mark.

“Do some simple checks because LP gas cylinders and attached equipment can kill or injure if a gas leak occurs.

“Don’t overload small lunchbox gas cookers with big pans and always comply with the manufacturer’s instructions.

“Don’t place gas cookers on leaf litter or inside cardboard boxes and watch out for fat splatter.”

A recent fire from a lunchbox cooker accident is being investigated by Fair Trading. Misuse of such products are of concern, especially as Australia Day looms.

Mr Stowe said consumers should also check barbecue hoses and fittings and follow safety precautions.

“Over time, hoses and fittings can crack and perish,” he said. “LP gas is heavier than air so will accumulate in low areas, rather than dissipate.

“It can generate an explosive mixture with air if the cylinder or attached equipment leaks. Cylinders of LP gas or acetylene carried or left in closed vehicles have caused explosions and fires.”

Don’t light cigarettes in cars carrying gas bottles.

Keep cylinders in a secure and upright position when transporting them.

Look for the test marks on cylinders.

Don’t use a cylinder that is more than 10 years old. If the cylinder doesn’t have a test mark, it could be lethal. It can’t legally be filled in NSW.

If you buy a cylinder without a current legible test mark, you need to have it inspected at a certified gas cylinder test station and stamped with a test mark.

Don’t use barbeques indoors or in any confined space if they use charcoal briquettes, hot rocks or similar products to provide a heat source. Exposure to fumes can be dangerous.

Check hot weather electrical and gas appliances for frayed leads and damaged plugs and don’t use near water, for example too close to pools.

Retailers must be vigilant when selling goods.

Consumers should check all gas and electrical appliances for approval labels or certification marks.

Photographs of non-compliant goods, as well as gas and electrical approval marks are online at the Fair Trading website or call 13 32 20 for advice.

In 2012, Fair Trading inspectors undertook checks to clear shops of uncertified gas barbecues, cook tops, wok burners, lunchbox cookers, cast iron burner rings, kebab cookers, regulators and hose assemblies, as well as bug zappers and battery chargers.

Inspectors travelled across the state, visiting Dubbo, Henty and all major trade shows.

The Fair Trading Gas Consumer Safety Unit conducted 420 site inspections (representing stores and e-commerce locations), examined 584 items and detected 56 non-compliant items.

The Electrical Consumer Safety Unit conducted 324 site inspections (representing stores and ecommerce locations), examined 18,262 items and detected 1,376 non-compliant items.

Contact details

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Teresa Mullan
Media and PR Co-ordinator
Tel: 02 9895 0111

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