Danger: Uncertified Rechargeables Are On The Increase

In just one year, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries have directly caused over 1,000 fires in Australia.

When a lithium-ion battery combusts, there’s a thermal runaway effect – a chain reaction which causes the battery to burn intensely at extremely high temperatures, which can be almost impossible to extinguish.

Shoddy manufacturing of the device, its battery or the battery containment or management system can very often be to blame for battery fires. Sometimes the problem can be a faulty charging cable that causes overheating whilst charging, or consumers swapping out the battery with a cheap replacement.


Due to the potential danger posed by lithium-ion batteries, devices fitted with a power cell of this type are required by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to meet specific manufacturing standards and undergo rigorous testing before they can be approved for sale in Australia. There are also stringent requirements imposed on manufacturers regarding user instructions and product labelling.

Unfortunately, uncertified products do end up on sale, either as cheap imports sold through Australian stores or more commonly online. Not all countries have the same high manufacturing and safety standards as Australia, so when you’re buying rechargeable devices, it’s best to:

  • Buy your device only from reputable retailers and suppliers
  • Only use the chargers and cables that are provided by the manufacturer
  • Don’t leave devices charging overnight
  • Only charge on hard, non-combustible surfaces
  • Charge large battery devices in the shed or garage, not in living areas
  • Don’t tamper with battery-powered devices
  • Don’t leave devices in the sun
  • Never use a device if the battery is swelling, bulging, leaking, damaged or overheating
  • Never put batteries in the rubbish

If you are importing, manufacturing or retailing rechargeable devices, ensure your products and ancillary devices meet the ACCC compliance requirements – the agency is likely to impose substantial penalties on suppliers of non-compliant goods. If you’re uncertain as to the compliance status of your products, please contact us.

This communication (including any attachment) has been prepared by BWES and is based on the available information at the time of publication and is believed to be true and accurate. The information contained in this communication should be used as a guide only and may cease to apply if applicable regulation or the product’s design or application is altered. BWES does not take responsibility for any Injury, Loss for damage suffered by any party’s interpretation or decisions made by any party on the information provided in this communication.