Phone charger safety check tips - Don't use cheap chargers!

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Published: 3 Mar 2017

Staying electrically safe at home is getting harder and harder now with all the new technology, Smartphones, Tablets, Laptops and much more. Most homes have several of these and if you have a small family, it’s easy to see a charger in almost every plug socket.

With the increase of gadgets in each home we also see an increase in chargers. A lot of which you find cheap chargers online or in pound shops, unbranded/generic chargers are often imported in, cheaply manufactured, and badly designed. They are manufactured as cheaply as possible, using poor quality parts and cutting corners to save money. These electrical chargers can be deadly.

Recently we have seen an increase in the number of incidents reported about faulty electrical goods, Fake, Cheap and Unbranded electrical chargers in particular, the majority of which fail to meet the UK safety regulations and are likely to cause injury, electric shock and even start fires.

There are a few ways that you can check your plug in charger to check that it is to the UK standard.

The 3-point safety check

Plug pins
Check that there is at least 9.5 mm between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger (9.5 mm is about the width of a ballpoint pen). If the distance between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger is less than 9.5 mm, there is a risk of electric shock when plugging in and unplugging the charger from a socket.

Plug the charger into a socket but don’t switch it on or connect it to your appliance. 

Does it plug in easily? If the charger does not easily plug into a socket, the pins may be the wrong size or length, or the distance between the pins may be wrong. If pins do not fit properly into the socket, overheating, arcing and mechanical damage can occur to both the socket and the charger, which can be dangerous.

Look for a manufacturer’s brand name or logo, model and batch number.
Check for a CE mark
Check that the output voltage and current ratings marked on the charger and your electrical device are the same.
Do not rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of safety – it’s simply a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the safety requirements of European law, but they can be easily forged.

Warnings and instructions
Adequate warnings and instructions must be provided. As a minimum, user instructions should provide information on conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electrical safety guidance and details of how to safely dispose of the charger when it is no longer required.

To read into the risk of cheap chargers in more detail and advice on how to choose the right chargers please follow this link