Consumers warned about summer hazards

WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety
  • DIY car repairs, popular during the summer break, can be dangerous
  • Pool rules in place to ensure correct barriers for children’s safety
  • Electrical safety tips for lighting up the Christmas tree and decorations
  • While the summer holidays are often a time for relaxation and recreation, many Australians also take the opportunity to work on their cars, utes or other vehicles at home.

    Consumer Protection has released some important safety tips for anyone considering do-it-yourself (DIY) vehicle repairs and maintenance work, including the correct use of a jack to lift the vehicle, making sure the vehicle was on a hard, level surface and avoiding the use of makeshift support stands such as blocks of wood or bricks.

    Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said safety considerations when carrying out vehicle repairs at home can save lives.

    “On average, five Australians die each year as a result of DIY car maintenance accidents and, since 2000, many hundreds have been hospitalised due to injuries,” Mr Newcombe said.

    “Research shows most fatalities happen when the victims are working under a vehicle and using equipment incorrectly.

    “Never place any part of your body under a vehicle unless it is sitting securely on support stands or ramps. Never get under a car that is only supported by a jack.”

    There were also risks away from the garage, particularly around the swimming pool and inside the home.

    Figures from Royal Life Saving Australia show 30 people died from drowning in swimming pools in Australia last year, including 10 children aged under 10. In the previous year, there were 28 deaths.

    “Flotation and aquatic toys are not safety devices. Parents and carers should constantly watch children using these types of toys,” the Commissioner said.

    “Check that your pool gate latches lock properly to ensure that unsupervised kids cannot access the pool. Never prop a pool gate open and ensure climbable objects such as chairs and large toys are kept away from the pool barrier.

    Consumers also need to be careful inside the house, particularly with Christmas trees and toys.

    “To protect your home against fire risks, choose less hazardous options when decorating the Christmas tree by using low-voltage lights and keep flammable items away from the tree,” Mr Newcombe added.

    “The lights should have a triangular tick symbol to show they meet Australian electrical standards. Outdoor lights have extra safety features so indoor lights should not be used outside. Ensure cords are not frayed or exposed, power sockets are not overloaded and decorations are switched off before you go out or to bed.

    “In the lead up to Christmas, families should be on the lookout for button batteries or small magnets in children’s toys, as both are dangerous when swallowed.”

    To check if something has been recalled on banned, or for instructions on how to make your own choke check tool, visit the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s product safety website https://www.productsafety.gov.au/.

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