$1.2 million fine for distributing pump that electrocuted woman
A business director has been fined $1.2 million for failing to ensure a product he imported and sold adhered to electrical safety laws.
Two years ago, a woman was killed when she was electrocuted by a submersible pump installed in the backyard well of a Townsville home. At Townsville Magistrates court, Zoran Kacavenda, sole director online business the Pump Factory Pty Ltd pleaded guilty as an individual and as a business to breaches of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 that caused the woman’s death.
The court heard that in March 2016 the Pump Factory purchased hundreds of the submersible water pumps from a Chinese manufacturer before selling them online under its own name and as Kasa Pumps and Kasa Factory.
The court heard that Kacavenda and the Pump Factory failed to ensure that the devices met the relevant Australian Standard of safety before selling them.
The Electrical Safety Office (ESO) investigated the death and found the pumps were of substandard quality and poor design, with internal wires tangling, ripping out of their connections and coming into contact with the metal body of the pump. The investigation also found that the home had no electrical safety switch installed on the circuit that the pump was plugged into – something that could have prevented the tragic death.
The ruling is a stark reminder for importers to ensure products are safe before importing and selling them in Australia. Imported goods must meet Australian standards.
The ESO is stressing the importance of making sure that online sellers are contactable in order to enquire if products meet safety standards before purchase. Tested and compliant products, they say, will have the RCM mark on them.
The ESO is also continuing to promote that the most effective way to protect against electrically unsafe appliances is to have safety switches installed on all circuits in a home, pointing out that people moving into a new home have no way of knowing what work has been done before sale.
Most of the faulty pumps sold in Queensland have been returned to the supplier and the ESO is advising anyone who has one to cease using it immediately and contact Pump Factory Pty Ltd through email@example.com or 1300 718 025 to organise a refund.
For more information or to report a product, contact the ESO on 1300 362 128.