Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Electrical Safety

What are the dangers?
The main dangers are:
  • contact with live parts at 230 volts which can cause shock or burns and, in severe cases, death
  • Faults in appliances and installations, which can cause fires.

What are the danger signs?
  • Damaged plugs, sockets and flexible cables can cause electric shocks, burns and fires. Follow these simple rules to avoid problems.
  • Check plugs and sockets for burn marks, sounds of arcing (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing, circuit breakers tripping or if they feel hot.
  • Remove plugs from sockets carefully. Pulling out a plug by the cable puts a strain on it, and could damage the contact between the plug and socket. This could result in: overheating, wires becoming loose, or an electric shock (if the earth wire is disconnected).
  • Use plugs with the British Standard safety mark – they have live and neutral pins with insulating sleeves that allow you to put them in and pull them out of sockets safely. (Nowadays, electrical equipment comes fitted with a plug.)
  • Look to see that the shutter mechanism in the sockets closes when removing the plug.
  • Always replace damaged cables immediately. Touching live wires may give you an electrical shock or you could even die.

If you are concerned about any part of the electrical installation or appliances in your home, speak to your property owner or call us immediately.

How can I reduce the risks?
There are many things you can do to minimise risks of electrical shocks or fires in your home. For example:
  • have your electrics checked regularly (at least every 10 years)
  • use an Residual Current Device when using electrical equipment outdoors
  • use a registered electrician to carry out electrical work in your home
  • regularly check the condition of plugs, cables and extension leads
  • be careful when using hand-held electrical appliances and ensure that they are switched off and unplugged when you have finished using them
  • check that any adaptor used complies with British Standards and is adequately rated for the connected load
  • have your electric blanket tested every three years (as recommended by Trading Standards Institute)
  • have smoke alarms fitted and ensure that they are all in working order
  • Make sure you can access the fuse box and meter easily. Keep a torch nearby, so you can see what you're doing if the lights go out
  • Plan what to do in case of fire, be aware of all escape routes and make that exit routes are always kept clear.
  • Bring mains powered portable appliances into the bathroom.
  • Overload adaptors, particularly with high current appliances such as kettles, irons and heaters.
  • Use adaptors plugged into other adaptors.
  • Trail cables from electrical appliances (including extension cables) underneath carpets or rugs.
  • Use any electrical equipment or switches with wet hands.
  • Wrap flexible cables around any equipment when it is still warm.
  • Clean an appliance such as a kettle whilst it is still plugged in.
  • Retrieve toast stuck in a toaster whilst it is plugged in, and especially not with a metal knife – there are often live parts inside!
  • Fill a kettle or steam iron whilst it is plugged in.
  • Exceed the recommended bulb wattage for light fittings.

Stay safe

If you need us or have, any questions do not hesitate to contact us

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