As technology and electrical devices play an expanding role in our daily lives, the chance for abuse of that relationship also increases.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), the proliferation of counterfeit electrical products is growing at a rapid pace. In June, ESFI released the results of its 2014 Counterfeit Electrical Products Survey. It was developed to measure the awareness and response to the presence of counterfeit electrical products among several sectors of the electrical industry. The survey shows that, over the past decade, U.S. seizures of counterfeit products have increased more than 325 percent. Consumer electronics were the top commodity seized in 2011, with a value of nearly $40 million.
According to ESFI, the dangers of counterfeit electronics cannot be understated. Death, injury and property loss are the most severe.
Despite these obvious dangers, the survey revealed some inconsistencies. For example, while 96 percent of respondents believe that counterfeits are at least a moderate threat to public safety, only half reported a counterfeit electrical product upon discovery. Also, a strong majority of respondents reported that they do not have a process in place to report a counterfeit product.
Almost 55 percent of respondents also believe their company does not provide adequate training about issues related to counterfeit products. Of those who have discovered a counterfeit electrical product, they reported finding five, on average, in the last 12 months. Lighting, breakers and “other” items, such as appliances, signs and ground rods, were the most frequently reported counterfeit products discovered.
ESFI developed the survey to effectively gauge the issue and utilized partner organizations to provide a balanced sampling across all sectors of the electrical industry.