Charity supports safety for migrant communities

04 October 2009

Safer homes for migrant workers

With more than 1 in every 5 of all fires in UK homes caused by electricity, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is campaigning for safer homes for migrant workers in the UK. Workers coming to the country for the first time need to know their rights and landlords responsibilities regarding electrical safety in the home.

“Many people coming to the UK to work live in houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), where appliances are subject to heavy use and properties may not have been maintained regularly”, explains Lorraine Carney, ESC Campaign Manager. “So it’s particularly important for this group to know exactly what their rights are and the responsibilities of their landlords.”

Tenants in HMOs should ask their landlord if they can see the Periodic Inspection Report (PIR) for the property. This shows that a registered electrician has checked the electrical installation (such as wiring, sockets and light fittings) to ensure it is safe. Landlords of HMOs are required by law to have a PIR done at least every five years.

HMO landlords must also ensure any appliances supplied as part of the tenancy agreement – such as washing machines and electric cookers - are maintained in a safe and working condition. Tenants should look for PAT (portable appliance test) stickers on things like kettles and toasters, to show the appliance has been tested and is safe for use.

“If you live in a HMO, check for signs of damage such as burning, cracking and loosening of plug sockets, light switches and fittings”, adds Lorraine. “And if you have electrical appliances from overseas, don’t try and use them without first converting them for UK use. EU conversion plugs are readily available in shops and through some local Fire & Rescue services.”

For more information please contact