Call for more USB charging outlets in public buildings

More than half (58%) of 2,000 UK adults would like to see more public buildings feature special USB smartphone charging outlets, a survey has revealed.

The recent national survey, commissioned by wiring accessories supplier, Crabtree, also highlighted that half of UK adults have purchased a phone charger that was made by a different manufacturer than their phone – increasing the likelihood of it being a fake – and 30% charge their phone in a public place at least once a month.

When it came to awareness around the safety concerns of using fake phone chargers, a staggering 47% of participants did not think there was a risk of electric shock while using them.

The statistics come after it was found last year in a test by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute that only three out of approximately 400 fake Apple chargers were insulated well enough to protect the user from electric shock – a risk that fixed USB charging outlets can mitigate.

National Sales Manager at Crabtree, Jim Hutchison, said: “While public awareness of this issue clearly needs improving, there is an obvious need for specifiers of electrical accessories and services in new public buildings and renovations to consider sourcing wiring accessories that will safely meet the demands of the digital age.

“Sockets with integrated USB charging outlets, or dedicated fixed USB charging points offer higher levels of user safety, and certain models can even offer high levels of device protection by managing the charge to match the needs of the device being charged. This means that expensive devices do not suffer component damage or screen burn. Simultaneously the charging needs of the user can be met without compromise on the speed at which their device charges.”

Out of the 2,000 respondents to the survey, more than 100 had experienced something bad or dangerous when plugging their phone into charge.

One described how they plugged in their phone charger at their place of work and it “started to spark and make a loud noise”. When they went to check on it, the charger was black and they “could smell burning.”

Another participant even described how they received an electric shock from their charger and it burned the skin off the top of their hand.