Our Key Policies in Scotland

Our Key Policies in Scotland

Electrical Safety First believes that nobody, regardless of age, income or where they live, should be put at risk of electrical faults in their home. To this end, we are campaigning to improve electrical safety in a number of key areas:

Safe Housing

Almost three quarters of house fires are of electrical origin – the number one cause in Scotland. But the law offers different protection for different tenures. We believe everybody should be protected by the same electrical safety laws, regardless of tenure, age and income.

We want to see:

  • Mandatory five-yearly electrical safety checks in all social housing carried out by a registered electrician - to bring requirements in line with the Private Rented Sector.
  • Consideration for electrical safety checks in owner-occupied homes, or as a first step, mandatory inspections in owner-occupied flats.
  • RCDs (Residual Current Devices) fitted in all rented homes.
  • A requirement for landlords to register any new electrical appliances they provide with lets to ensure they are not subject to any current product recalls or safety alerts.

Preventing Fires caused by electricity and protecting the most vulnerable

Older or vulnerable people can be most at risk of fire because they often live in old or poor quality housing which contains faulty electrics, own older appliances or are unable to afford essential electrical repairs. The risk of dying in a fire for older people is over twice as high as the average for all ages.

Set against a backdrop of an ageing population, with dementia and other degenerative syndromes heightening electrical risk, those in later life may find themselves asset rich but cash poor with limited electrical safety grant funding available to mitigate dangers in the oldest housing stock.

We want to see:

  • A commitment to reducing the number of accidental electrical house fires with targeted consumer campaigns supported by the Scottish Government.
  • A more up-to-date reporting system that allows for better capturing of incidents caused by modern technology.
  • Support for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Services to extend their proactive and preventative work to raise awareness and prevent house fires caused by electricity.
  • A review of the causes of fires by electrical sources and the cost to public services.
  • The option of a free five-yearly electrical safety check for all owner-occupied households with one person of pensionable age.

Improving Consumer Safety Online

With the growth in online shopping, our research has indicated a particular issue with the sale of counterfeits and sub-standard electrical items bought online, with one in five Scottish residents (one million people) having purchased a fake electrical product that was advertised as genuine.5 This is a real concern, as counterfeit electrical items can often be sub-standard and – unlike a fake designer dress or handbag – can not only cause fires but also maim and kill.

While many aspects of consumer protection are still reserved, there will be opportunities to improve electrical safety in Scotland through the creation of the new Consumer Scotland body.

We want to see:

  • Regulation of online sales of electrical goods to prevent recalled, counterfeit and sub-standard electrical products from being sold.
  • Regulation of private sales so they are included in Consumer Rights legislation.
  • Online platforms taking more responsibility by policing their sites for inappropriate sales of electrical goods.
  • Properly funded enforcement at ports and airports to target and prevent unsafe electrical goods from being sold.
  • Effective consumer protection and representation to protect people from the dangers posed by unsafe electrical products.

Electrical Product Recalls

With a response rate to electrical product recalls of just 10-20%, there is clearly a lack of awareness around the risks associated with recalled products.

The UK’s complex and self-regulated product recall system has left many unsafe products in people’s homes, threatening lives and property. Manufacturers are not currently incentivised to take swift, appropriate action to counter potential danger.

We want to see:

  • A centrally-managed product recall database so consumers have a single place to go to check for recalls.
  • Mandatory registration of electrical goods at point of sale.
  • No recalled electrical products being sold or re-sold on online retail platforms.

Registered Electricians

We strongly recommend that, wherever you live, you use an electrician registered with one of the government-approved schemes for any electrical installation work in your home.

We fully recognise that sub-standard electrical work and failings in workmanship can and do result in death, injury and loss of property through fire.

We want to see:

  • A single register to make it easier for consumers to identify qualified and competent electrical professionals.
  • An on-going government-backed education campaign should be established to help change consumer attitudes towards the importance of electrical safety in the home.

 

Download our Scottish Manifesto by clicking on the link on the right of this page.