Safety deficiencies in self-balancing scooters

05/10/2016

 

Since late last year, reports about overheating and fires caused by self-balancing scooters, also known as hoverboards, have been published in the United States and most recently, this week in Sweden. A hoverboard being charged was also the suspected cause of a home fire in May 2016 in Finland. Due to these incidents, Tukes had four self-balancing scooters tested. None of them met the relevant electrical safety requirements laid down for these products.

 

In the tests* commissioned by Tukes from SGS Fimko Ltd, Helsinki, only the electrical safety of the products was assessed.

 

Safety deficiencies that may cause an electric shock or a fire were detected in all hoverboard models and their charging devices. Tukes has contacted the importers to require them to take due action. Information on dangerous products is available in our Market Surveillance Register (in Finnish).

 

It seems that electrical safety deficiencies occur in self-balancing scooters and the manufacturers and importers are not familiar with the safety requirements that apply to the equipment. In companies, buyers of these products should pay particular attention to this in future, says Katri Sihvola, Senior Officer at Tukes.

 

Self-balancing scooters must meet the relevant safety requirements

 

Tukes attends to the surveillance of self-balancing scooters equipped with an electric motor of up to 1 kW and a maximum design speed of 15 km/h.  More powerful equipment in Finland is covered by vehicle legislation, and supervised by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi.

 

Self-balancing scooters must comply with the requirements laid down in the Finnish Government Decree on the Safety of Machinery (400/2008), the so-called Machinery Decree) In addition to safety, economic operators shall ensure the machines bear the CE marking and are equipped with instructions for use in Finnish and Swedish. Besides, the EU Declaration of Conformity of the product shall be appended to the instructions for use.

 

Economic operators are responsible for the safety and conformity of their products. The authorities do not verify the safety of machines in advance. Instead, machines must be designed and manufactured in accordance with the Machinery Decree. The decree includes general safety requirements for the construction and marking of machines. There are also a number of Standards on the safety of machines that include more detailed technical instructions for meeting the required safety level. Further details on the requirements related to machines can be found on our website.

 

Tukes reminds consumers of the importance of abiding by the instructions for use.

 

– Always check before charging that the charging plug and the socket in the device are undamaged and there are no outward signs of possible damage on the machine. Keep an eye on the device while it is being charged and do not leave the device to charge in a cramped space. Do not leave any flammable material close to the charging location. Should anything suspicious happen during the operation or charging of the device, contact your dealer immediately, advises Senior Officer Jukka Lepistö.

 

Market Surveillance Register (in Finnish)

 

*) The self-balancing scooters/hoverboards were tested in accordance with the standard EN 60335-1:2012 + A12:2014.

 

For more information:

Katri Sihvola, Senior Officer, tel. +358 29 5052 197
(requirements for machines)

Jaakko Kuustonen, Head of Unit, Consumer Products, tel. +358 29 5052 140

Jukka Lepistö, Senior Officer, tel. +358 29 5052 460
(electric fires, electrical safety)

E-mail:  firstname.lastname@tukes.fi

 

The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) endorses the safety and reliability of products, services and industrial activities. Our goal is a trustworthy, safe and competitive Finland.

 

We want to be a provider of protection – to improve and facilitate safe practices across the society.