An iPhone owner from Ealing was electrocuted and died as a result as he charged his phone in the bath an inquest has heard.
The 32 year old named Richard Bull died when his iPhone charger became submerged in the water at his home in West London.
The coroner ruled that his death was accidental but plans to send a report to Apple about taking action to prevent future deaths. iPhones are now waterproofed to the situations that brought about Richards death are now far more common. Assistant coroner Dr Sean Cummings, who conducted the inquest at West London Coroner’s Court on Wednesday, is to write a prevention of future death report to send to Apple.
Safety campaigners have already warned about the dangers of charging mobiles near water and shall endevour to make this warning heard more following the inquest.
Mr Bull plugged his charger into an extension cord from the hallway and used the iPhone while it was rested upon his chest.
He suffered severe burns on his chest, arm and hand when the charger touched the water and died soon after on the morning of December 11th 2016
Electrical Safety First, a charity spreading awareness of electrical safety said the death highlighted some of the dangers of having electrical appliances around water.
An influential product safety manager Dr Sean Cummings has said people would not get electrocuted from a mobile appliance such as a laptop or mobile phone if it was not being charged. Such devices typically have a low voltage of 5V to 20V so “you probably wouldn’t feel it” if they came into contact with water, he added.
However, connecting a mobile phone to a charger plugged into the mains electricity supply increases the risk of harm.
“Although the cable that is plugged in to your phone is 5V, somewhere along the line it’s plugged into the electricity supply and you’re reliant on that cable and a transformer to make sure you don’t get into contact with the main voltage,” stated Dr Curtler.
He ventured that cheap, non-branded chargers may not offer such strong protection, but even with official brand chargers you are still taking a very unnecessary risk.
“You’re wet, which conducts electricity a lot better; you’re in the bath with no clothes on, so skin resistance is less. You’re vulnerable in the bathroom.”
Public health adviser Sheila Merrill motioned: “People need to be aware of taking an electrical appliance into the bathroom.
“The advice has always been given with regard to hairdryers and radios – not to use in the bathroom.
“If you have got any appliance attached to the mains electricity circuit, you have to be aware there is a danger there.
“You’re risking death. Electricity and water don’t mix, but particularly with phones, people probably don’t always think about it.
“It’s not advisable to use them while they’re plugged in, particularly in a bathroom situation.”
She did concede that Rospa did not see this type of accident on a regular basis and that most mobile phone manufacturers cover the electric shock risk in their safety handling support advice.
However, with a lot of smartphones and gadgets the advice does not come with the instructions you receive in your hand, she added.