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Electricity safety

Staying safe with electricity

Electricity can be dangerous but by taking some simple steps you can reduce the risk to you and your neighbours. 

Plugs and sockets - keep an eye out for the following:

  • hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights – they are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems
  • badly wired plugs – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug
  • overloaded sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating
  • use sockets safely – it’s better to use a multi-socket adapter on a lead than a block adaptor


Heaters - when using a plug-in heater you should:

  • keep it clear of curtains and furniture
  • only sit at least three feet (one metre) away from it
  • buy it from a reputable shop
  • never dry washing on or near it


Cables and leads - the risks include:

  • getting frayed and damaged – make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary
  • being badly positioned – they shouldn’t be anywhere that they could be tripped over, or near water, cookers or other sources of heat
  • running them under rugs or carpets - where they can wear through without anyone noticing


Appliances. All electrical equipment you buy should have the CE, BEAB and BS safety marks. When using electrical appliances, you should never:

  • get them wet – this includes plugs and sockets, so don’t put a vase of flowers on top of the TV, for example
  • leave them on at night – unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers
  • put anything in the microwave that is made of metal, or has a metallic finish or parts
  • second hand goods - beware when buying second hand goods; they may be old and worn out. If you do buy a second hand appliance, you should get it safety tested by a qualified expert before you use it
  • maintenance - electrical appliances, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors such as washing machines, should be serviced once a year by a qualified electrician
  • fuses - when you are fitting or replacing a fuse, it is important to use the right fuse for the appliance. Check the manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse.