Electrical safety tips for winter from new consumer body

01 November 2006

Stay safe in the winter

A new champion in electrical safety, the Electrical Safety Council, is helping to raise awareness of electrical hazards in the home and warning householders to be more vigilant this winter about the state of their electrics.

As the weather gets colder and days shorter, the use of electricity for light, warmth and entertainment inevitably increases. Electrical safety can seem like common sense, but it is surprising how many of us fail to follow basic safety guidelines. This is why the Electrical Safety Council, has put together the following safety advice to offer householders some guidance as the winter months approach:

  • Regularly check the condition of plugs, sockets and flexes. If these are damaged or worn get them repaired or replaced, otherwise they can cause electric shock, burns and fire. One way damage can occur is by carelessly removing plugs. Make sure you don't pull them out by the cable, this is a common problem and can result in overheating of the plug, wires becoming loose or cause an electric shock to the user if the earth wire becomes disconnected. Another way cables can become damaged is by trailing them under rugs or furniture causing wear and tear on the insulation.
  • Try to get into a routine of switching off gadgets and appliances, such as TVs and computers, before going out or going to bed. This will avoid the possibility of fire and help save money on electricity bills.
  • Increased use of high-rated appliances, such as irons and kettles can also put a strain on the electrical system, so the Electrical Safety Council advises not to overload sockets by plugging too many into adaptor plugs. It is much better to have additional sockets installed by a registered electrician.

Emma McCarthy, director of the Electrical Safety Council, said: "Electricity is an integral part of our lives, but it can kill. Contemporary homes have much greater demands on electricity than 20 years ago. The average UK home today has a TV in most rooms and any number of computers, printers, scanners and games consoles, so the potential risk of electrical accidents in the home is now higher than ever before.

"At least 30* deaths and many thousands of accidents are caused by unsafe electrics every year and the vast majority of us know that faulty electrics can lead to fires and injury. Therefore we are advising people not to simply wait for a problem with their electrics before doing something about them."

Always remember that in the event of an electrical emergency you will need to turn off the electricity. Be prepared, find out how to do this and make sure your fusebox (consumer unit) is easily accessible and not obstructed by the usual household clutter.

For further information contact media@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk