ACTING on the advice of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Minister for Small Business Michael McCormack has issued a national proposed ban notice for certain types of decorative alcohol fueled burners, also known as ethanol burners. This follows an interim ban on the products in Western Australia.
The decorative burners, filled with methylated spirits, ethanol or bio fuel, have to date caused more than 100 incidents and at least 113 injuries.
Injuries have typically occurred when consumers are refuelling the burners while still very hot or a hard-to-detect flame is present, which can cause ethanol vapour to explode.
“Consumers should take care using ethanol burners because, although used for display or mood lighting, they can cause serious burns if things go wrong,” Mr McCormack said.
"Despite previous ACCC safety warnings about these products, we continue to see significant injuries as a result of these products. Some injuries have included second or third-degree burns that have required skin grafts, operations, lengthy hospital stays and physiotherapy.
"I'm worried about potential harm these products can cause families, which is why we're moving towards banning those burners that pose the greatest risk."
Mr McCormack said products intended for cooking or heating and burners that require installation are exempt from the notice. However some poorly designed or manufactured decorative burners are lacking essential safety features and may cause serious injuries.
“I encourage all consumers who use these products to visit the Product Safety Australia website for information about how to use burners safely,” Mr McCormack said.
"If it's determined that some products simply pose too great a risk to be on the market, we will act to protect consumers."
The proposed ban notice requires suppliers of these products to seek a conference with the ACCC about the proposed national interim ban within 30 days. Retailers and suppliers can find further information about what they should do on the ACCC’s product safety website.