Especially true and applicable to the specifier / the landlord, the NICEIC advice on the avoiding the potential electrical hazards applies to everyone living in the UK; in general, this advice says “don’t try to the the brave one / smart one by doing / maintaining the electrical installation by yourself – use a NICEIC-registered contractor to install, inspect and maintain electrical installations“. The electrical hazards are invisible but they are deadly, being a cause of fires and electrical shock. Of course, these hazards can be easily prevented if you use an NICEIC-registered contractor to install, inspect and maintain the electrical installations in your premises.
The government figures estimate that there are around 10 fatal and 2,000 non-fatal electric shock accidents in the home each year, and around 19 fatal and 880 non-fatal shock accidents a year in the workplace. However, there are about 12,500 electrical fires in homes across the United Kingdom each year. Although many incidents are caused by faulty appliances rather than by the electrical installation itself, a properly installed & well-maintained installation could save many lives.
Especially when it comes to doing the electrical installation or even installing a new light fitting in the bathroom / a wall lamp / a ceiling light, etc – or replacing the extractor fan in the bathroom, replacing some switches/sockets, replacing some fire alarms, etc – do yourself a favor and, unless you are a qualified electrician, make sure someone that is qualified and approved does the installation/replacing.
The cables, the switches, the socket-outlets and other wiring and connecting equipment deteriorate with prolonged use, so they all need to be checked and necessary replacements or repairs need to be made in good time. Whilst it is relatively easy to make an electrical circuit work – it is more challenging and important to make the circuit work safely. In order to avoid the dangers that electricity can create to you and to the others it is essential that electrical work is carried out only by those with the correct knowledge, skill and experience in the type of electrical work to be undertaken.
Remember: Always use an NICEIC-registered contractor to ensure that your electrics are installed and maintained safely and correctly.
In March 2006 the Electrical Safety Council published the results of their National Consumer Survey; here are some statistics:
- 42% of consumers surveyed stated they had never had their electrics checked;
- 32% of consumers surveyed who do DIY stated they had experienced one or more electric shocks while carrying out DIY;
- 59% of people do not use qualified electricians when carrying out electrical work;
- 35% of consumers surveyed said their electrics are over 15 years old and a further 21% stated they had no idea how old they were;
- 48% of those surveyed did not know that their electrics should be checked at least every 10 years.
The above article is inspired by the Electrical Hazards – Specifiers and Landlords on the NICEIC website. More advice on electrical safety for householders can be found at http://www.esc.org.uk – we will also continue to post other advices from these two authorities – on the safety of the electrical installations, the existing rules and regulations, and the recommendations they can make for a safer and better environment both at home and at work.