Two Key Learnings from the AFL Grand Final Promotional Wristbands Recall

The LED wristbands that were distributed at the 2020 Grand Final in Brisbane last month were subject to an urgent product recall by Product Safety Australia when the battery compartment of the wristband was not adequately secured and the button batteries in the product were easily accessible.

Key Learning 1: Button Batteries: Tiny Batteries, Big Danger

If young children gain access to button batteries and ingest them they may suffer internal burn injuries which can result in serious illness and even death. In addition the batteries may pose a choking hazard to young children.

Whilst the ACCC is still finalizing regulation guidelines (which APPA has been supporting) around button batteries, the ACCC recently launched its ‘Tiny Batteries, Big Danger’ safety campaign to raise awareness of the serious risks associated with them.

Watch this video to learn more: Button Batteries: Tiny Batteries, Big Danger

Product Safety Australia recommend checking before you buy:

  • Look for products that do not use button batteries at all. Other types of batteries are less likely to be swallowed by young children and do not present the same degree of danger. Alternatively, look for products where the battery does not need to be replaced, such as where the product is rechargeable.
  • Check for a child-resistant battery compartment, if you do buy button-battery-operated products such as being secured with a screw, so that the product does not release the battery and it is difficult for a young child to access it. 

Key Learning 2: Import Insurance

It is believed the business responsible for the AFL Grand Final wristbands may have imported them from a company that does not have local representation here in Australia.

If that is correct, they will likely be legally found as the “Deemed Manufacturer” of the wristbands and will be solely responsible for any product liabilities that arise from them.

We asked Shane Brady of APPA’s Premium Service Provider McLardy McShane to explain the potential consequences of importing product:

Product Liability Cover
Product Liability cover provides liability coverage for businesses found legally liable for injury or damage to third parties caused by their products. Having your insurance cover setup correctly, that protection can be extended to include products that are imported from overseas. One of the conditions present in all Product Liability policies is the “Reasonable Care” clause, which imposes the responsibility to make all reasonable efforts to reduce the risk of further loss under the policy, including the recall of products known or suspected to have defects that may cause injury or damage. As this is clearly the case in this situation, the business will need to make all reasonable efforts (whether those costs are insured or not) to recall the product and/or to comply with all of the requirements of Product Safety Australia.

What do APPA members need to check?
In light of the AFL’s issue, it is a good time to ensure that your Product Liability coverage is in order, especially where you import products from overseas. It is important to know that your Product Liability cover will only ever respond to the business activities noted on your policy schedule, which can apply when you are importing. If you import products and importing is not specifically noted and arranged with your insurer, the liabilities arising from any imported goods may be completely uninsured. Whether you are a Distributor or a Product Supplier or Decorator, if you import any goods from overseas, it is vital your insurance specifically notes importing as part of your “Business Activities”. This ensures you have protection against product liabilities that can arise from foreign sourced products.

For more information, Shane explains further in this Product Liability for Importers Blog Post and you can contact Shane on 0429 400 026 or shane@mclardymcshane.com.au