The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has introduced changes to the standards applied to lithium coin cell and button cell battery safety standards, commonly used in watches.
These new laws are effective as of 22 June, and have been introduced to reduce the risk of ingestion of batteries, particular by children.
The standards were introduced in December 2020 with an 18-month transition period to allow businesses time to prepare.
“These world-first mandatory standards for button batteries are an important step in helping to prevent injuries to children. Time is running out for manufacturers and suppliers to ensure their products are compliant,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in a statement in April.
“Once the standards become mandatory the ACCC will focus on enforcement action.”
Per the mandatory safety and information standards, products must have secure battery compartments to prevent children from gaining access to the batteries. Manufacturers, such as watch companies and suppliers, must undertake compliance testing and place warnings and emergency advice on packaging.
These changes to standards will not affect the wholesale purchase of batteries by retailers. Catherine Craner, managing director for The Battery Man, said the changes shouldn’t impact services such as watch repairs.
“The ACCC standards do not apply to button and coin batteries that are supplied in bulk to trades, professions or industries, such as the watch and jewellery industry, and that are not intended for sale to the public,” she said.
“For our clients, they’ll be able to continue to install batteries into the watches of customers, and other devices as usual, but cannot on-sell or supply batteries to the general public, even if the battery packaging is compliant, our batteries are for ‘trade only’.”
Penalties apply for businesses that supply button and coin batteries, or products containing them, that do not comply with the mandatory standards.