In recent years there has been an increase in reported accidents to UK Trading Standards for Christmas lighting products and in some cases, resulting in public recall notices by major high street retailers.
An independent product testing company was commissioned to provide a report covering the selection and testing of several Christmas lighting products for indoor use. Eight lighting products were selected in total and were sourced from high street retailers (including lighting chains from so called 'discount' or 'pound' stores) and the internet.
Each lighting product was assessed for compliance against the general safety provisions of the relevant safety standards. Essentially, lighting products must be safe AND must have CE marking (which represents the manufacturer's declaration that the product is safe).
In brief, the findings of the research were that:
- standard marking departures were found on two of the products
- the remaining six products passed all the laboratory testing with no departures being noted
- a new innovation in lighting chain design and function built into one of the samples tested would improve safety.
Although not an immediate shock or fire hazard, the problems identified with markings on two of the products included:
- incorrect symbol (for electrical safety) printed on the product label, the packaging label and user instructions,
- Safety information not given warning the user;
- not to connect a chain to the electricity supply while it is in the packing
- that replacement lamps must be of the same type or of a type as specified by the manufacturer
- that 'lamps are not replaceable' for lighting chains provided with non-replaceable lamps.