Electrical companies 'not reporting counterfeits'

House fireA survey of the US electrical products industry has found that while almost all respondents think counterfeiting is a risk to public, only half routinely report incidents.

The survey by Electrical Safety Foundation International (EFSI) found that around half of the 900 electrical inspectors, contractors, distributors have discovered a counterfeit product, with lighting and breakers the most commonly encountered product types along with appliances, signs and ground rods.

The average number of fakes encountered was five in the last year, which ties in with the escalation in electrical goods counterfeiting in the US. Over the last 10 years seizures of counterfeit electrical products by enforcement agencies have more than tripled.

All told, 96 per cent of respondents said that counterfeits are at least a moderate threat to public safety but half do not report cases and a third had no protocols in place to avoid counterfeits. Almost 55 per cent said they felt their company does not provide adequate training about the issues related to counterfeit products.

"Counterfeit electrical products pose significant safety hazards if left undetected, and have been known to cause deaths, injuries and substantial property loss in the home and the workplace," said the EFSI.

Fake electrical devices such as mobile phone chargers have been reported to start fires, explode, shock users and inflict burns.

Campaign logoIn tandem with releasing the survey results, the EFSI has also launched a campaign - called Zero Tolerance for Counterfeits - to raise awareness of the dangers among consumers, contractors and distributors.

Among the materials being distributed during the campaign is an infographic providing tips to the public on how to avoid buying fake electrical products.

"Eliminating counterfeit electrical products from the electrical supply chain will require a collaborative effort that leverages new data to educate and advance awareness among the public and industry stakeholders," says the EFSI.

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