Electricity - Friend or Foe?

In today’s age everyone has a house full of electrical gadgets, equipment and tools. We might hear folk moaning about the gadgets, especially when they plug2 stop working, but all in all we really are reliant on electricity – life without it would be hard!

There is no doubt that in the home electrical faults are the top cause of fires, which is the opposite of fires at work (this is because at work equipment and circuits get tested – at home they generally are not).

During 2011/12 there were 37,601 accidental fires of electrical origin and 244 deaths! Of this 11,954 were cooking appliances, 2,899 electrical supply, 1,083 washing machines and tumble driers, 767 lighting and 475 dishwashers!

What is not available is the number of fires caused by chargers overheating, there is certainly records of these being the cause of some fires.

I hope we all know the dangers of electricity and no-one has any of these culprits in their home – if you have then get rid today!

Faulty PlugEven extension boards are unsafe – quote I heard the other day – they are supposed to be a temporary solution not a permanent one! If you are going to have an extension board in situ for a length of time then make sure it is fused, and perhaps even surge protected into an RCD socket.

If you find a fault at home, but more especially at work then unless you are employed as a qualified electrician then you must not attempt to repair it! Either call an electrician or take it to the dump.

If you do see someone experiencing an electrical shock then you need to know what to do. The electricity will have found a route through the body to ground – don’t add yourself into this circuit!

DO NOT touch the person until you are sure the electricity is off, otherwise there will be two casualties.

Use something that is not conductive (a wooden broom would be good), to move the electrical items away from the person.

If they are conscious take them to hospital (even when they say they don’t need to), as electricity will track through the body until it finds ground. This could mean going through the heart – there may not be any pain or other symptoms but the organs could still be burnt.

If they are not conscious call 999 or 112 as this will be an emergency!

Overloaded Plug

Home safety is as important as office safety! 
Don’t get paranoid about electricity,
But do make sure you have control measures in place,
And know what to do to make your family safe!

Health and Safety Poster - Important Information

Old PosterIn four days’ time the old brown and cream Health and Safety poster will become null and void – make sure you have the new red and cream poster with pictures up and displayed. If the local authority inspector comes visiting and sees the old version then least that you can expect is for this to be documented and highlighted as an issue, however they can take this further if they feel the need.

These posters are available in A3 or A2 versions, either from the HSE website or from other sources such as sign suppliers.

There is also a leaflet (trifold A4) or an A6 pocket card which are both available as FREE downloads from the HSE, but be aware it is expected that the employee has either of these to hand when asked about them.  This could work if kept on a lanyard with an employee ID card (ideal for any mobile workers) or displayed on your desk.

Trade bodies and regulators in the electrical services industry

Maintaining buildings and their associated electrical, air conditioning and heating systems inevitably involves compliance of one sort or another. There are rules and regulations set out by the government and codes of practice drawn up by trade bodies. But just what is what and who is who?

Over the next few months we’ll be looking in more detail at the different trade bodies that guide and regulate different sectors of the Building Services industry (why not sign up for our email?). Our first focus though is Electrical Services. (more…)