Electrical Safety First joins forces to make Scotland safer

18 November 2014

Making Scotland safer

Almost two thirds of all domestic fires in Scotland are caused by electricity, with electrical products the prime culprit. [1] Coupled with Scotland’s problem with fake and substandard goods – since 2010, Glasgow’s enforcement agencies, for example, have seized almost 10,000 fake electrical items, more than any other UK Local Authority[2] – product safety has become an increasing concern.

So a recent dinner debate highlighting the cost of unsafe electrical goods, hosted by Electrical Safety First and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, attracted considerable interest. Particularly since consumer protection, although currently dealt with by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in Westminster, is a power that may soon devolve to the Scottish Parliament.

“Last year, a survey by the Scottish Government showed that almost 90% of Scots don’t associate fake goods with serious crime[3] – despite the fact it is often a significant funding stream for criminal organisations ”, explains Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First.

“While counterfeit and substandard are not the same thing, it’s no surprise that many fake items are also substandard or faulty. Given the safety risk arising from such items and the number of fires caused by electrical products in Scotland, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. And we felt it was particularly fitting that we held this event during Electrical Fire Safety Week.”

The dinner debate was attended by a number of MSPs and relevant organisations, including Trading Standards Scotland, Citizens Advice Scotland and the Scottish Business Resilience  Centre.

Electrical Safety First will be holding further meetings with MSPs and other key stakeholders in the New Year, where the Charity’s work around product recalls will be presented, to support Scotland’s approach to consumer protection.


Editor’s Notes     

  • Electrical Safety First is a campaigning UK charity dedicated to preventing deaths, injuries and damage caused by electricity.
  • The UK as a whole has seen a six-fold increase in the seizure of counterfeit goods – from £2.6M in 2009 to £15.7M in 2012. [4]
  • RAPEX – the European Rapid Alert System for the notification of dangerous consumer products – has rated electrical products as the third most frequently ‘notified’ (i.e. counterfeit or substandard product group) over the last three years.
  • Electrical Safety First has been running a high profile product safety campaign and has just released a major report designed to help improve consumers’ response to recalled products. Recalls are usually issued after the discovery of a health and safety risk but most are relatively unsuccessful, with a success rate of just 10% -20%.  A copy of the report can be found here: http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/news-and-campaigns/campaigns/product-recall/

For more information, please contact:

Angela Murphy t: 020 3463 5127 e: angela.murphy@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

Ben Stokes t: 020 3463 5129 e: ben.stokes@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk

[1] Electrical Safety First Core Data Set

[2] Data derived from Glasgow Trading Standards, as seen in http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/9700-fake-electrical-items-seized-in-glasgow-124954n.21137240  

[4] Data obtained from Freedom of Information Requests – reported in The Guardian 29.3.2013