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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

    Government announces interim ban on unsafe ethanol burners

    Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
    The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

    Wednesday, December 21, 2016

    Government announces interim ban on unsafe ethanol burners

    The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensure Queenslanders are safe and has taken steps to impose an interim ban on the sale of unsafe ethanol burners, effective from today.

    Acting Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Dr Anthony Lynham said, from today, retailers are not permitted to sell certain types of ethanol burners in Queensland.

    Dr Lynham is also encouraging Queenslanders who own burners to stop using them.

    “Since 2011 there had been at least 117 incidents associated with ethanol burning devices in Australia, including 38 in Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

    “These small, portable devices have been the cause of numerous explosions and flash-back fires, resulting in serious and life threatening injuries.

    “Following advice of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), I have ordered these products to be removed from the marketplace because they pose an unacceptable safety risk to consumers.

    “Our highest priority is continuing to protect Queensland consumers, and banning unsafe ethanol burners will help ensure people’s safety.”

    The interim ban covers ethanol burners that have shown to be of high risk and those that were being used when someone was injured or was likely to result in injury.

    The ban applies to most ethanol burners currently on the market, including:

    Devices designed for domestic use producing a flame using alcohol as fuel, primarily for decorative purpose, excluding the following:

    • those with a power output of more than 4.5 kW; or
    • those that require installation in a fixed position; or
    • those designed for food warming.

     Dr Lynham said there were particular concerns with burners where the ignition point was the same as the refuelling point.

     “These devices are not worth the risk of injury or property damage, especially if you have children or pets around,” Dr Lynham said.

    Queensland Fire and Emergency Services State Fire Investigation Unit Manager, Inspector Gordon Hemphrey, said many serious injuries occurred when people were refuelling the ethanol burners.

    “These devices are particularly dangerous when they are being refilled because there is a real risk of a bottle full of ethanol exploding in someone’s hands,” Inspector Hemphrey said.

    “These devices are also risky because they are portable and can be easily moved to hazardous locations in the house, such as under curtains and in places where a child could tip them over.

    “These devices can be major fire hazards and the interim ban will ensure there is less of a risk of a fire and less of a risk of people being seriously injured from these devices.”

    A product safety notice was issued in July 2014, and as a result of the investigation, the OFT released a guide for suppliers and a safety video for consumers.

    As manufacturing practice has failed to improve and injuries continue to occur, the OFT recommended an interim ban be imposed.

    This 60-day interim ban has also been imposed in Western Australia, pending further investigation for a possible nation-wide ban.

    If consumers do choose to continue using an ethanol burner, it is vital the following safety tips are observed.

    Always follow the manufacturer’s safety and use instructions.

    • Never leave the burner unattended while using it.
    • Supervise children and pets around burners at all times.
    • Stay a safe distance away from the burner (at least one metre) while it is being used.
    • Store fuel in a separate location to the burner.
    • Have a fire extinguisher close by.
    • Never use the burner for cooking.
    • Always use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.
    • Do not throw items into or at the burner.
    • When refuelling, take extra care – make sure the device is off and never refuel if the device is hot or even warm.

    For more information and tips, visit www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading

    Footage available: https://vimeo.com/user42105252

    Media contact:

    Office of Fair Trading: 07 3247 5968 or 07 3247 5965

    Attorney-General: Pam Frost 0437 696 809