Canister cooker safety advisory for suppliers
Energy Safety advises importers and sellers of canister, or “lunchbox”, cookers to ensure the product they sell is safe and has valid certification. This advice follows regulatory authorities in
Australia identifying deficiencies in some product supplied in Australia.
Energy Safety, part of WorkSafe New Zealand, is responsible for monitoring, encouraging, and enforcing the safe supply and use of gas and electricity. Australian and New Zealand safety regulators are concerned about the number of incidents where the canister compartment overheats, causing pressure to build in the fuel canister. In some cases the canister then ruptures, often causing a gas explosion and fire.
The Australian standard for these appliances requires an overpressure shut-off mechanism in the canister compartment to protect the canister from becoming over-pressurised. The standard also requires the mechanism to be fully enclosed and protected against external interference.
Australian certification agencies have re-tested samples taken from the market of each of the appliances they have certified. They tested the overpressure mechanism and its protection from
external interference and many of these appliances failed one or both of the tests. The certification agencies have therefore suspended or cancelled their certifications.
The Australian authorities are considering whether an Australia wide recall is warranted and are communicating with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in that regard.
Like all gas appliances, the “lunchbox” cookers are required by New Zealand’s Gas (Safety & Measurement) Regulations to be certified before being supplied by the importer or New Zealand manufacturer. All suppliers must also lodge a supplier declaration on the Gas Appliance Supplier Declaration Database (GASD), which is located on the Energy Safety website, and label the appliances with the gas safety compliance mark (pictured below) to indicate that the product meets certification requirements. Suppliers may not supply appliances that don’t meet these requirements.
Energy Safety advises importers they cannot supply further product that relies on Australian certification until the appliances have a current and valid certification. The Regulations require retailers to take all practicable steps to ensure that the appliances they are selling are safe. Energy Safety advises that given that the Australian retesting of marketplace samples of these appliances have revealed failures, retailers need to establish with their supplier that the appliances they have in stock are safe and suitable for sale and use. In addition, a visual inspection of all stock to ensure that it is in sound condition would be prudent, and product that is damaged in any way should not be sold.
Some New Zealand importers supply very similar appliances which rely on European certification, and this product is therefore not directly affected by suspension or cancellation of the Australian
certification. However, because these appliances have similar design Energy Safety advises importers and retailers of European certified appliances that they also need to determine whether
their stock is safe. There may be canister cookers available on the “grey” market that have been supplied by importers who have not ensured their product is safe, and that it has valid certification and
supplier declaration lodged on the GASD. Without relevant compliance documentation there is no way of establishing the safety of these appliances. Cookers and any other gas appliance without this documentation should not be sold.
If consumers have purchased a gas appliance within the last twelve months it should have the “flame logo” compliance mark (pictured above) on it to indicate that it is certified, unless it is old stock that can be demonstrated to have been imported prior to 1 July 2013.