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Not the season to be buying cheap Christmas lights

As Christmas lights and other decorations appear in retail outlets, Queenslanders have been urged to buy products that meet Australian Standards, even if they are a bit more expensive.

Office of Fair and Safe Work head Dr Simon Blackwood said buying cheaper Christmas lights online, from markets or second hand could seem like a bargain, but was not worth the risk.

“Cheap or second hand lights – anything electrical for that matter – are a risk because you just can’t be sure what you’re getting,” Dr Blackwood said.

“Saving a couple of dollars is false economy if the lights malfunction and set the tree on fire.”

Dr Blackwood said that with Christmas fast approaching, the Electrical Safety Office was reminding the public to play it safe and only purchase lights approved for sale in Australia, and for the purposes outlined by the manufacturer.

“Under Queensland’s electrical safety laws, it is illegal to sell decorative lights that do not meet Australian standards nor have a certificate of approval,” he said.

Dr Blackwood said it was sometimes difficult to buy with confidence over the internet because other countries did not always have the same electrical systems or standards we have in Australia.

“You should only buy lights that have the proper compliance marking or labelling,” he said.

“Look for an approval number – such as ‘Q041234’ – or the regulatory compliance mark logo, both of which indicate compliance with Australian standards.

“These marks must be on the lights and are usually found on a plastic tag near the plug or on the transformer if it is an extra-low-voltage type. They may also appear on the packaging.

“It is also important that you buy lights for the right purpose. Outdoor lights for outdoor areas – very low current solar and LED lights are often a safer option.”


Dr Blackwood said Electrical Safety Office inspectors were conducting random audits of lighting retailers to ensure lights being sold have been approved and are safe.

For more information on simple safety hints when buying, using or storing decorative lights go to www.electricalsafety.qld.gov.au or call 1300 650 662.

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Last reviewed
12 December 2013
Last updated
5 November 2015
 
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