How close are you to electrocution?

THE ELECTRICAL Safety Council charity has issued a stark warning as a study reveals that approximately 6.2 million Brits could be living in an illegally wired home that may be putting lives at risk.

Devoted ‘DIYers’ fail to realise they could face hefty fines or even prosecution by doing what they believe is simple electrical work around their home.

A new survey shows that millions of people are attempting electrical jobs, such as rewiring and installing complicated electrical equipment in an attempt to save cash. What they don’t know is that by law, electrical work must be carried out by a registered electrician, or at least approved by a local building control office.

Experts are worried that this lack of understanding could result in serious injury or death, with electricity killing at least one person in their home each week, and almost 1,000 seriously injured every day.

One in seven consumers have rewired areas of their home, one in five have carried out a fuse box change, one in six have attempted an electrical installation in the garden, while one in eight have or would attempt to install cabling under the floor in their home.

As a result, more than a third of registered electricians are called to fix botched jobs at least once a month and almost one in five contractors have seen electrical work which has caused injury to the homeowner.

A quarter of Brits did not know that if you are conducting electrical work in the bathroom, kitchen or garden you need to get it done by a registered electrician or notify your local building control office, otherwise the work could be illegal.

One in six did not know it is a criminal offence to carry out work that does not comply with building regulations, and one in five did not know that when moving into a new home, you should always ask to see a certificate to prove the house meets the current wiring regulations.

The Electrical Safety Council is urging anyone planning on carrying out electrical work in their home to always use a registered, competent electrician to ensure that the work will always meet the necessary regulations.

Phil Buckle, director general of the Electrical Safety Council, said: “Some figures from this survey are truly alarming. There is clearly a need to continually educate homeowners on the dangers of electricity in the home.

“With this in mind, the Electrical Safety Register was launched by our charity in partnership with the Electrical Contractors’ Association.

“We hope that by launching the Electrical Safety Register, we can help to reduce the number of deaths and accidents that occur each year through incorrect electrical work.”

Tony Cable, spokesperson for the Electrical Safety Register, added: “These shocking survey results really do highlight the importance of the Electrical Safety Register.

“It is vital that people make sure that the electrician is registered. Fewer than a quarter of those asked even bother to check their ‘sparky’ is fully certified.

“Too many homeowners are making their decisions based on cost, rather than credentials; a mistake that can prove to be deadly. Therefore we are urging people to use the Electrical Safety Register.”

It can be found at www.electricalsafetyregister.com.