Australia has various product liability laws that enable people who are injured by poorly manufactured goods to claim compensation. But Australian consumer law doesn’t currently have a general safety provision, which means it is not illegal to sell unsafe products in the country.
Nevertheless, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) enforces a number of fair trading regulations in an attempt to keep people safe when they buy goods.
This year, the ACCC has unveiled several key areas of product safety that need immediate focus:
Takata airbags: Around 2.3 million people still haven’t replaced these faulty automobile parts, despite 23 deaths and hundreds of injuries worldwide.
Quad bike safety: The vehicles cause 16 deaths a year on average, with the ACCC advocating for large-scale changes to safety standards.
Infinity electrical cables: Only 52 per cent of Infinity cables have been successfully recalled, leaving homes and businesses with more than 2,000 kilometres still to remove.
Button batteries: These batteries can kill or seriously injure children who swallow them. Approximately 20 kids end up in hospital each week after eating them.
Baby walkers and toppling furniture: Ikea faced a toppling furniture scandal when 29 million chests and drawers were recalled in 2016. But falling furniture remains a problem in Australia, with 50 children admitted to hospital every week.
Internet goods: Online purchases increased 11.5 per cent in 2016, according to the latest Inside Australian research. However, this popularity means the ACCC is keen to ensure suppliers don’t sacrifice product quality as demand rises.
Review current safety standards: There are 66 compulsory safety standards and bans in Australia. The ACCC will review them in 2018 to see if they still work and businesses remain compliant.
According to the ACCC, promoting the introduction of a general safety provision is also a key item on the agenda.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said consumers are injured and killed every year, despite the organisation’s best efforts.
“Like doctors, we believe that prevention is better than cure,” he explained.
“We want to ensure that the goods and goods related services supplied in Australia are safe from the outset, and stop injuries and illnesses occurring in the first place.”
You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one sustains injuries from an unsafe product in Australia. Manufacturers often owe customers a duty of care, potentially making them responsible for any injuries sustained while using their goods or services.
To discuss whether you may be eligible for damages, please contact a personal injury specialist at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers.