A 60-day interim ban has been placed on the sale of portable decorative alcohol fuelled burners in NSW, following suit from Western Australia and Queensland, after reports of over 100 serious burns and injuries.
These burners cannot be offered for sale from 21 December 2016.
Under section 109 of the Australian Consumer Law, an interim ban can be imposed if a reasonably foreseeable use (or misuse) of a consumer good will or may cause injury to any person.
The burners are primarily decorative but are also sold for heating and display purposes. The fuel is typically ethanol in liquid or (less commonly) gel form. The most common form is methylated spirits (ethanol and around 10 per cent methanol) which may also be marketed as bio-ethanol or eco-fuel.
Since 2010, there have been 113 reported injuries and 115 fire incidents. In October 2016, a 28 year old Perth woman suffered serious burns to her face and upper body after an ethanol burner exploded in the backyard of a Safety Bay home. This was closely followed by two people being injured on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in an ethanol burner accident.
These burners are especially dangerous when they are being re-fuelled. When the fuel is low, the flame can appear blue or clear, making it difficult to see. Re-fuelling when a flame is present or the device is still warm can lead to an explosion. There is also a risk of the burner being knocked over by children or pets and causing serious burns to people nearby as well as damage to property.
Fair Trading has more information on its website.