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CONSUMER PRODUCTS AND RETAIL E-SSENTIALS

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Australia: Consultation on Mandatory Standards for Button Cell Batteries

OCTOBER 2020 - ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS, HARDLINES, TOYS AND CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a consultation1 on the draft mandatory safety and information standards specifying requirements for button and coin cell batteries and consumer goods containing those batteries. Submission of comments is due by 29 November 2020. 

If enact, the requirements will have 18-months transition period to ensure the required changes can be implemented and that current stock can be sold through.

For the purposes of the ACCC's investigation, button and coin cell batteries are each referred to as “button batteries”. In the battery industry, the term “coin” is associated with lithium batteries while the term “button” is associated with non-lithium batteries.

Consumer goods containing button batteries
The draft safety standard requires consumer goods that use/contain button batteries must be designed to eliminate child accessibility to the button batteries, including that the batteries should be secured and not released during normal and foreseeable use and abuse conditions. Suppliers can either comply with listed industry standards or principle-based requirements provided in the standard. 

Warnings and information on packaging, instructions would be required on the consumer goods, and at the retail point of sale for unpacked products. For online selling, electronic platform should include warnings.

Button batteries that sold standalone
Requirements for child-resistant packaging of button batteries is proposed. The button batteries packaging supplied in blister packaging or in storage containers must be tested to demonstrate the construction requirements have been met. Where multiple button batteries are supplied, the design of blister packaging must release only one button battery at a time, each battery is enclosed in child-resistant packaging even when another battery is removed from the packaging.

The draft information standard for button batteries specifies requirements for warnings and information on the packaging of button batteries, and for addition markings on lithium batteries with a diameter of 20 mm or above. Suppliers would also need to comply the warnings requirements including those button batteries that are sold online.

In 2016, a voluntary Industry Code2 was developed to assist suppliers in making responsible decisions about button battery safety when procuring, designing, developing or retailing button batteries or button battery-powered devices. The Code recommends that suppliers of consumer goods include readily available safety features in their products, such as battery enclosures requiring the additional use of a tool to gain access to the batteries.

[1]  The ACCC Consultation Hub

[2]  Industry code published for consumer goods containing button batteries, published Sep 2016

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