19th May 2022
Button batteries, found in many household items, clocks, metronomes, toys and so on, are harmful to children and many accidents and some deaths have occured in Australia. Legislation passed in December 2020 that introduced mandatory standards for securing batteries and providing warnings on products.
- Mandatory standards take effect on 22nd June 2022, which marks the end of an 18 month transition period
- The legislation applies to all consumer goods with button/coin batteries
- The category of batteries applies to single cell batteries with a diameter greater than their height
- Enforcement action (including fines) will apply for non-compliance
Much of this information is a summary from the ACCC guide Button/coin battery safety – a guide for business on the application of mandatory standards. Read the original document
Which batteries does this cover?
- Button/coin batteries are small, single cell batteries with a diameter greater than their height.
- Button/coin batteries are available in different sizes, shapes and electrical charges. Button/coin batteries generally operate using one of 4 chemistries: lithium, alkaline, silver oxide and zinc-air.
- In industry, the term ‘coin’ is associated with lithium batteries and the term ‘button’ is associated with non-lithium batteries. The new rules apply to both types, but a distinction is sometimes made in the Standards between battery types, based on their chemistry.
Which products does this cover?
The Standards refer to consumer goods. This means goods that are intended to be used, or are of a kind likely to be used, for personal, domestic or household use or consumption. Under Australian Consumer Law, products are considered a consumer good if the intended or likely use meets this description. Some may be intended for use in another setting but would be likely to be found in a domestic setting.
There are exemptions for ‘professional equipment’ and ‘audio visual and information communications technology equipment containing button/coin batteries that are soldered in place’, as well as the second hand sale of products that were originally sold to the consumer prior to 22nd June, 2022.
Professional equipment is equipment to which all of the following applies:
- it is intended to be used in trades, professions or industries
- it is not intended for sale to the general public
- it is not intended to be used where children are present.
Where there is any doubt around your product’s classification as a consumer good, it is recommended you assume the product may be subject to the Standards unless you have received specific legal advice to the contrary.
What is required?
- Consumer goods containing button/coin batteries that are intended to be replaced by the consumer must have a secure battery compartment that is resistant to being opened by young children.
- Consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries, whether or not the batteries are intended to be replaced, must be secure and not release the batteries during reasonably foreseeable use or misuse conditions.
- Compliance testing must be undertaken to demonstrate that safety requirements have been met.
- For consumer goods that contain button/coin batteries, warnings are required on any packaging and accompanying instructions.
- If the consumer good is supplied unpackaged, warnings must be attached to the consumer good, to alert consumers that a button/coin battery is included with the product and the hazard button/coin batteries pose to children.
- If the consumer good is supplied without instructions, warnings must be attached or included with the consumer good, to alert consumers that a button/coin battery is included with the product and the hazard button/coin batteries pose to children.
- Hearing aids (and any related accessories) are exempt from secure battery requirements, but are subject to warning requirements.
- Other exemptions from secure battery and warning requirements are provided for:
– second-hand goods first supplied to a consumer before the Standards become mandatory
– professional equipment, subject to certain criteria
– audio visual and information communications technology equipment containing button/coin batteries that are soldered in place.
Information for Retailers
If you are a retailer, you are responsible for ensuring that the products you supply meet the
requirements of mandatory safety and information standards. To ensure that the products you sell comply with the Standards, you should always:
- stipulate that any button/coin batteries or consumer goods containing button/coin batteries you order must meet the Standards
- undertake visual checks of delivered stock where possible to check compliance with the
requirements of the Standards
- obtain and keep reliable written verification that products have been tested to, and meet, the mandatory requirements.
Information for Manufacturers
The Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020 contains mandatory requirements for the construction of products to ensure that they are safe and do not pose a risk to children. The standard mandates the following 4 requirements:
- Consumer goods containing button/coin batteries have a secure battery compartment and do not release the batteries during reasonably foreseeable use or misuse conditions, regardless of whether the batteries are intended to be replaceable.
2. Consumer goods containing button/coin batteries intended to be replaced by consumers have a secure battery compartment that is resistant to being opened by young children.
3. Consumer goods containing button/coin batteries that have the battery compartment secured by screws or similar fasteners must include captive fasteners to ensure that they remain with the battery compartment door, cover or equipment (unless they comply with one of the product specific standards listed in table 1).
4. Consumer goods with non-replaceable button/coin batteries that are accessible to the consumer must be tested to ensure that batteries are secure.
Compliance testing must demonstrate that products meet these safety requirements. Some of the referenced national and international standards include 2 alternatives for demonstrating that button/coin batteries are secure and not easily accessible including:
- battery compartments are secured with a screw or similar fastener and not accessible without the use of a tool, or
- button/coin batteries are not accessible without the use of a tool unless at least 2 independent movements have been applied simultaneously to the battery compartment.
Supplying consumer goods which fail to comply with the Standards is likely to contravene the ACL and expose a party to potential enforcement action by the ACCC.
For corporations, the maximum financial penalty for a breach of the ACL will be the greater of:
- 3 times the value of the benefit received
- 10% of annual turnover in the preceding 12 months where the benefit cannot be calculated.
- ACCC, 6th April 2022: Three months to go for button battery safety standards
- ACCC: A guide for business on the application of mandatory standards
- Testing: the ACCC recommends contacting the National Association of Testing Authorities
- For technical information about standards, see Standards Australia. The relevant standards are IEC 62368-1: 2018, AS/NZS 62368.1:2018 (Clauses 4.8.3, 4.8.4, 4.8.5), AS/NZS 60065:2018 (Clauses 12.7.2, 12.7.3, 12.7.4) and UL 4200A UL Standard for Safety for Products Incorporating Button or Coin Cell Batteries of Lithium Technologies (Section 5 and 6)
- Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020
- Consumer Goods (Products Containing Button/Coin Batteries) Information Standard 2020
- Consumer Goods (Button/Coin Batteries) Safety Standard 2020
- Consumer Goods (Button/Coin Batteries) Information Standard 2020