Button and coin batteries
Button and coin batteries
The Australian Government has introduced four mandatory standards to reduce the risk of death and injury associated with the use of button and coin batteries. The standards apply to both button cell and coin cell batteries, and to the products that include them.
Button/coin batteries are flat, round single cell batteries. They are typically up to 32 mm diameter, and range in height from 1–11 mm.
In Australia and around the world, there is a growing record of serious injuries and deaths of children from these batteries.
Button/coin batteries generally operate using one of four chemistries: lithium, alkaline, silver oxide and zinc-air.
Lithium batteries pose the highest risk. They are usually larger, which means that they are more likely to become stuck in a child’s throat. Their higher voltage means they can cause tissue damage more quickly.
What’s in scope
The safety and information standards apply to both:
products containing button/coin batteries which are supplied to consumers.
They explain how products and their packaging should be designed, and the warnings and safety information that must be provided with them.
What’s out of scope
The standards don’t apply to these kinds of batteries:
zinc-air batteries intended for use in hearing aids
button/coin batteries supplied in bulk to trades, professions or industries, and are not intended for sale to the public
These standards don’t apply to these kinds of products that contain button/coin batteries:
consumer goods that were first supplied to a consumer before the requirements became mandatory
professional equipment where all of the following apply:
the equipment is intended to be used in trades, professions or industries
the equipment is not intended for sale to the general public
the equipment is not intended to be used where children are present
audio-visual and information and communications technology equipment containing button/coin batteries that are soldered in place.
All participants in the supply chain are responsible for complying with these new safety and information standards.
You are considered a supplier if you manufacture, import, distribute or retail button/coin batteries or consumer goods containing button/coin batteries within Australia or for the Australian market.
The new standards were introduced on 21 December 2020.
There is an 18-month transition period where you can choose to start using the new standards. They will become mandatory on 22 June 2022.
Possible consequences of supplying unsafe products:
No business wants to be associated with consumer injuries or death. Significant losses to your business can arise if:
• You are required to recall unsafe or non-compliant products
• You are required to pay fines or costs associated with supplying unsafe or non-compliant products
• A consumer sues you for a death, an injury or property damage related to an unsafe or non-compliant product
• You are left to dispose of an unsafe or non-compliant product. Offences Under the ACL, it is an offence to:
• Supply banned products or products that fail to meet requirements of mandatory safety standards • Make untrue claims about products, such as stating that they meet mandatory or voluntary safety standards when they do not
• Supply banned products or products that fail to meet requirements of mandatory safety standards. The ACL also contains provisions where a supplier can be required to substantiate certain claims made about the products it is promoting. If consumer guarantees are not met, the ACL provides consumers with remedies that must be provided by businesses.
Penalties Current fines for supplying non-compliant products or making false claims about products are:
• Up to $500 000 for individuals.
For a body corporate, the greater of:
• $10 000 000
• three times the value of the benefit received, or
• 10% of annual turnover in the preceding 12 months, if a court cannot determine the benefit obtained from the offence.
Please note* The above information are excerpts from the ACCC ‘Product Safety’ website, a link is provided below for more comprehensive information.
Comtest Group and Comtest Laboratories have worked with the ACCC and other Regulators providing input and testing services. If you are unsure of what to do or if the requirements are relevant to your products, we can assistant you to ensure that your products are compliant.