Hoverboard issues continue
The continuing saga of hoverboard injuries and fires has come to the point in which the U.S., US Consumer Product Safety Commission has recently put out a statement. The Chairman Elliot F. Kaye states, “At CPSC, our investigators and engineers continue to work diligently to find the root cause of the hoverboard fires that have occurred throughout the country. CPSC staff is focusing on the components of the lithium-ion battery packs as well as their interaction with the circuit boards inside the units. CPSC staff has consulted with test laboratories, lithium-ion battery representatives and other outside experts to verify safe design practices for use of lithium-ion batteries in hoverboards. There are certain basic safety technologies we expect these units to have that should prevent overheating and potential combustion. These are the same readily-available technologies that exist in properly manufactured lithium-ion batteries used in the notebook computers and cell phones we all use every day.”
Because of these fires and injuries, numerous establishments have banned the use of hoverboards while on their property. These include numerous colleges, airlines, and subway stations. Since becoming popular there have over 30 cases in which the hoverboard has suddenly burst into flames, mostly when plugged in to charge. In their statement, the CPSC also states, “As we move forward with our investigation of the fall and fire hazards relating to hoverboards, all options remain on the table for CPSC. The federal government continues to work in close coordination on this serious issue. Officials from CPSC, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration are regularly sharing information and insights with a common goal of taking whatever steps are necessary to prevent injuries and property damage from fires and falls.” Not only have injuries resulted from the hoverboard bursting into flames, but also from using them (without the sparking or fire). Injuries can occur to anyone who uses the self-balancing board, therefore it is critical to also wear the proper safety items such as a helmet.
The CPSC is currently working towards, “that both ASTM International* and UL* are preparing to work on the development of standards for hoverboards that would seek to address both types of hazards.”
*Both companies seek to enhance the safety of different products through research and innovation.