Fire Risks in the Workplace: Fake Chargers and how to spot one!

Fire risks from fake chargers are now a common problem for organisations and increasing the likelihood of a fire occurring.

Sub standard and counterfeited plugs can be deadly, fry your phones inner circuity and leave you greatly out of pocket. Electrical Safety First (ESF) carried out tests on fake iphone chargers and shockingly found that 98% of them had the potential to cause a lethal electrical shock or start a fire.

Here are some practical tips on how to spot a fake charger:

Text and markings on the plug

Often the CE mark may be missing or incorrect on many fake chargers

The CE Mark should be of a minimum height equaling 5mm

There should also be a noticeable space between the C and E mark and be proportionate in size

The plugs pins

Are the line and neutral pins at least 9.5mm from the edge of the plug?

Do all the pins have sleeves on them?  Only the line and neutral pins should have sleeves on them and the earth pin at the top should not have a sleeve on it

The pins should be matte, high quality and uniform. Fakes are often shiny with imperfections and pitted


Fake chargers will be significantly lighter than genuine chargers as they only contain a few, if any of the high quality components required in line with safety standards. The charger should weigh at least 40g.

USB Port

A genuine charger will have a serial number at the back of the USB port.

Shape and Dimensions

Plug pins on a fake Apple charger may be longer or smaller or placed in a different place than a genuine one.

Electrical Safety First –The UK’s Electrical Safety Experts have a simple Plug Checker Tool that can be used if you’re in any doubt and it only costs £1.00 add VAT and shipping  it costs £1.80. Available here.

This nifty tool enables you to perform 3 simple tests, should the plug fail then the appliance should not be used as it could potentially put you at risk.

Don’t kill yourself or your phone with a dodgy charger.

For training in Fire Awareness or Fire Warden Courses visit our courses here.


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