Decorative burners linked to 105 injuries go back on sale

The introduction of a new safety standard will see a national ban lifted on tabletop burners.

Decorative alcohol-fuelled burners responsible for dozens of household fires and more than a hundred injuries will have to meet a new safety standard before a sales ban is lifted.

Tabletop burners were banned in a number of states in late December following a string of injuries serious enough to place people in intensive care units.

But now manufacturers will have three months to meet the requirements of a new safety standard, which was introduced after burners were found to cause at least 105 injuries and 36 house fires within seven years.

Reported injuries include second- and third-degree burns, skin grafts, operations, lengthy hospital stays and physiotherapy. They were sustained by people of all ages, ranging from newborns to pensioners.

Portable tabletop burners were found to be particularly dangerous, says Michael McCormack, the Minister for Small Business.

"Many of these products allow the user to refuel the device in the same opening as the burner. The flame is often hard to see and injuries commonly occur when consumers refuel the device when it is still lit or warm.

"This can cause a flash flame and the fuel bottle to explode. I urge consumers to stop using these products immediately."

States banned the sales of tabletop and freestanding burners late last year starting with Western Australia, after one sent a 28-year-old woman to the intensive care unit with burns to 18% of her body. A national ban followed months later in March 2017.

Tabletop burners will have to weigh more than 8 kilograms or have a footprint greater than 900 square centimetres to comply with the introduced standard. Freestanding and fixed burners will have to meet a stability test, come with a container that has a fuel arrester, and display warnings on refuelling hazards.

People who own an unsafe tabletop burner should return it to the place of purchase with their receipt for a full refund, says the minister.

Failing to meet the introduced standard could face fines of $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for companies once it comes into effect on 15 July 2017.