Stay electrically safe in the garden this Easter

27 March 2013

Electrical safety outdoors

Working with electricity after recent wet weather puts gardeners at risk, warns charity.

  • Wet conditions increase risk of electric shock
  • Lack of awareness of the importance of RCD protection puts gardeners in danger
  • Misuse of electrical tools and lack of concentration a major cause of accidents
  • ESC encourages people to use registered contractors for carrying out home improvement work involving electrics


As the Easter weekend approaches, the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is reminding people to be careful when working with electricity outdoors.
The Easter break is the perfect time to get out into the garden to prepare it for the summer. But the recent wet weather and working in contact with the ground means there is a greater risk of electric shock than there is when using electrical equipment indoors.  A lot of accidents in the garden happen because people do not follow manufacturer’s instructions, handle equipment carelessly or don’t concentrate properly.

Many of these accidents could be avoided by using an RCD. It is a life saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires. ESC research1 shows that many people (39%) don’t understand the importance of using an RCD, although regular gardeners have a significantly higher awareness (59%) A quarter of people who regularly use electrical equipment outdoors and have an RCD admit to not always using it.

Emma Apter from the ESC said:
“Every year around 70 people are killed and 350,000 injured through electrical accidents in the home. Yet by following some simple guidelines, many of these could be prevented.
People often do not realize the dangers that electricity presents. As the days get longer, the weather finally improves and spring fever takes over, we want to make sure that people stay safe”.

The ESC offers some simple tips to help people stay safe when working in the garden this Easter:

  • Never use electrical equipment outside when it is raining or the ground is wet
  • Use a residual current device (RCD) for all outdoor electrical equipment.
  • Always check your electrical equipment, including plugs and extension leads, for damage before you plug it in and use it
  • Don’t try to repair damaged equipment yourself
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions – many accidents happen because safety instructions are ignored

As well as tidying up the garden, householders may be thinking about making some improvements to their outside space – fitting outdoor lights, power sockets or adding RCD protection to the fusebox. The ESC advises that people should always use a registered electrician to carry out this work. To find a registered electrician in your area visit www.electricalsafetyregister.com  
The Electrical Safety Register holds the details of over 36,000 registered contractors based throughout the UK, offering peace of mind and protection to people who are looking to have electrical work carried out in their homes and gardens.

For more information please contact Ben Stokes on 020 3463 5129 or at ben.stokes@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk