Electrical Safety First Manifesto
Electricity is an indispensable part of our lives that many of us cannot imagine life without, cooking our food, keeping us warm, and powering our daily enjoyment. As we progress towards a net-zero future with eco-friendly technologies, our dependence on electricity will only grow.
However, the tragic loss of life and colossal annual toll inflicted by electrical house fires, amounting to 1.7 billion pounds, emphasise the need to prioritise the safety of our people in our increasing electrified world. Electrical Safety First, a UK charity dedicated to preventing electrical-related deaths and injuries, presents this manifesto for potential inclusion in the policy programme for the next UK Government. It proposes cost-effective measures to safeguard our people from electrical dangers and ultimately to save lives.
1. Strengthen E-Micromobility regulations
The UK is facing a disturbing projection of almost one e-bike or e-scooter fire per day in 2023, resulting in tragic deaths, hospitalisations, homelessness, and staggering financial losses. To tackle this escalating danger and support our transition to greener transportation, government must introduce:
- Third-party safety certifications for all e-bikes, e-scooters and the lithium-ion batteries that power them before entering the UK market.
- Improved product standards for the safe usage and charging of lithium-ion batteries.
- Regulations to ensure responsible disposal of batteries at the end of their life.
Enhance electrical safety in housing
Much like cars require regular MOT checks for safety, our homes’ electrical installations demand an equal degree of attention and care. While current safety regulations do exist for rented homes, they only protect long-term tenants, leaving those staying in the booming short-term let sector overlooked. Moreover, the owner-occupied sector, housing a significant number of vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, also suffers from inadequate protection. There is also a concerning discrepancy in mixedtenure high-rises, where leaseholders will soon be excluded from the safety regime in this living environment with elevated fire risks. As we embrace greener, electrified homes, securing electrical safety becomes paramount. These steps move us toward that goal:
- Mandate free electrical safety checks for financially challenged homeowners by energy suppliers, similar to gas safety checks for those on the Priority Services Register.
- Require electrical safety certificates during property sales to safeguard more people living in the owner-occupied sector.
- Implement mandatory five-yearly electrical safety checks for the short-term let sector and leaseholders in mixed-tenure blocks.
3. Fair business environment and consumer protection
Online marketplaces present a huge risk when it comes to unknowingly purchasing dangerous products. In an investigation conducted by Electrical Safety First, a staggering 93% of sampled electrical products from these platforms were deemed unsafe. What’s especially concerning is that consumers on these platforms often remain uninformed, unaware that they do not benefit from the same essential safeguards available to high street shoppers and those using trusted online retailers. Urgent government intervention is imperative.
- Online marketplaces must be recognised as actors in the supply chain, so shoppers enjoy the same level of protection when making online purchases as they do when shopping in physical stores.
4. Ready homes for a green future
As the UK shifts towards net-zero and greater electrification, we must not overlook home readiness. With rising electricity use and adoption of electrical powered technologies, our aging housing stock needs attention. Enhancing the English Housing Survey can provide crucial data for targeted support, including financial assistance and electrical upgrades for low-carbon measures.
- The government should enhance data collection by upgrading their English Housing Survey.