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Charger cord safety

April 6, 2018 — 

To all University Staff and Students,

Due to a recent fire-related incident involving a phone charging cord, Risk Management would like to spread awareness regarding the safe use of charging devices. Health Canada has issued numerous recalls of uncertified USB chargers due to fire and electrical hazard. A list can be found on the Government of Canada website: http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2018/66298r-eng.php. If you have one of the recalled chargers, immediately stop using the product and either return it to the retailer or dispose of the product. These products pose an immediate danger not only to University property, but also to your own personal safety and property.

Health Canada has the following information regarding the use of chargers on their website:

Make sure to use the charger that came with your laptop, mobile phone, electronic cigarette, hoverboard or any other product that requires a battery to be recharged. If you need to buy or replace a charger, make sure the voltage and current are compatible with your device.
Make sure you follow the charging instructions and do not place a charging product near combustible materials, or on soft surfaces, such as a couch or bed. Soft surfaces can trap heat around the battery.

Make sure to use a charger that has one of the recognized Canadian certification marks, such as CSA, cUL or cETL. These marks indicate that the products are assessed to the required Canadian electrical safety standards. Chargers that do not meet the required electrical safety standards may cause electric shock and fire hazards for consumers. For more information on certification marks, visit your provincial or territorial Electrical Safety Authority.

This information is important for home use of chargers as well as use on University property.

Some other important information can be found online from the following links:

Tuscaloosa Fire Department: http://www.cbs42.com/news/local/8-helpful-ways-to-prevent-fires-caused-by-electronic-chargers/957435939

CBC News: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/batteries-fires-charging-firefighters-home-electronics-1.4191219

Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/3365247/electronic-charging-devices-cables-pose-fire-risk/

John Dodd
Director, Risk Management

2 comments on “Charger cord safety

  1. Bruce Mahaffy

    Excellent article.
    I am directly involved with seeing all sorts of “International” types of adapters in our Residence Buildings. Is there any advice that I can follow in relation to this? How do we address the fact that some foreign appliances could cause a fire, etc?

    Reply
    1. Student Residences

      Thanks for the email and question. The contract states what type of appliances can be brought into residence and where they can be used. See section 2.4 http://umanitoba.ca/campus/housing/images/2017-18_Contract.pdf

      In addition, health and safety inspections are conducted once per term by our residence life staff, where each individual room is inspected for health and safety violations, including potential fire hazards.
      See section 1.16. Given these recent recalls on small electronics adapters, we anticipate focusing more closely on the proper use and types of these devices in future inspections.

      Reply

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