Today we live an era where everything is going electronic; from daily use items to new inventions, all rely on some source of power source and usually this comes via the mains power that is harnessed by making use of a charger. However, one matter that has been often overlooked is that of knock off chargers which pose a huge safety risk. In April 2014, we were reminded of this loophole and how dangerous it can be when a 28 year old woman and mother to two young children was electrocuted to death.
Sheryl Aldeguer was in her rented room at Gosford when the incident occurred, causing her death. She originally belonged to Philippines and was all set to begin her work as a theater nurse at the Gosford Hospital within a few days. The cause of death was electrocution and a faulty USB charger was the culprit. This young lady was found with her headphones on and holding her laptop with burns on her ears and chest. The culprit was the cheap 5$ phone charger she was using, which ultimately blew up and electrocuted her. She had been training for the job that she was about to take up for six months in Melbourne and was hoping that her family will be able to join her in a couple of months.
Authorities have taken strict notice and this article also works as part of a awareness program to remind people how dangerous it can be to purchase the rip-off USB powered chargers. New South Wales Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe has stated that a number of such chargers that do not adhere to the Australian safety standards have been removed from the market. He also admitted the fact that authorities were not being aware of this issue, however, gave a bold statement in this regard when he said; ‘This is the first time we’ve been aware of them in large numbers. We’re only familiar with this one incident and it does look like one of these devices is implicated in the electrocution.’
He further stated that the Campsie trader from where the charger was bought shall be facing imprisonment and a heavy fine. He also pointed out that the chargers confiscated were made of plastic and quite prone to melting, had no insulation on pins whatsoever or approval marks. It is customary for the electrical products sold in NSW to comply with consumer safety act. He advised all those who were and are using these cheap USB chargers to bend their pins and throw them away as soon as possible.
Readers, please bear in mind that all the Dos and Don’ts exist for your safety. You should not use a gadget while it is being charged and always demand for a high quality charger and must not settle on a cheap knock off just to save a few bucks. Your life is more important than that! Do spread the message and ask your friends and family members to get rid of these cheap knock offs and value life.