Australian safety standards
When buying electrical appliances, look for an approval number, also known as an 'approval mark'. When an appliance has an approval mark, it proves the appliance meets Australian standards. The approval number should be permanently marked on the appliance itself - being on only the box or container is not enough. If you can't see an approval number or mark, ask the salesperson to show it to you. If they can't show it to you, don't buy it. This advice goes for buying appliances online as well.
Electrical appliances sold in Australia are required to work with our standard voltage of 230-240 volts, 50 Hz.
Appliances purchased overseas or brought into Australia can have different standard voltages. Those appliances can deliver a nasty shock or even a fatal injury without suitable voltage conversion.
Protect yourself by purchasing a voltage converter, or if in doubt, avoid using appliances purchased oversees altogether.
Faulty electrical equipment
Faulty or damaged electrical equipment and cords are extremely dangerous. When dealing with damaged or faulty electrical equipment, the best approach is to unplug the appliance and take it to an accredited repair store or dispose of the product altogether. It is not worth risking your life.
As recently as 2022, a 10-year-old girl suffered severe burns to her hands after receiving an electric shock from a broken fan in her bedroom.
In 2014, a young woman died after being electrocuted by a cheap USB charger that was plugged into her mobile phone.
- Protection is keyOrganise a safety inspection for your home with a licenced electrician. Where recommended by a licenced electrician, install safety switches and surge protectors in your home.
- Use electricity safelyDon't overload power points and teach kids how to be safe around electricity.
- Be careful with appliancesMake sure appliances meet Australian standards before purchasing them, and only use appliances with the correct Australian voltages.
- Treat shocks and tingles as a warning sign that something is wrongIf you feel a shock or tingle from an electrical appliance, call triple zero (000) straight away.
Electric shocks and tingles
If you feel a shock or tingle when touching an electrical appliance, don't ignore it. Shocks and tingles are a sign that something could be seriously wrong. Don't touch or re-test the appliance again as the situation could be life-threatening. Stay clear and call triple zero (000).
Learn more about shocks and tingles.