BLOG: Electrical Compliance
17 September 2021
By Kaleisha McIntosh, Admin Officer
We have a responsibility as a landlord to protect residents who live in the homes we manage by completing the right checks to ensure your property is safe. One of these is electrical testing which is a vital part of my team’s role as we make sure the environment you’re living in is electrically safe.
Electrical testing is done through our five year communal and domestic electrical testing programmes and the lightning protecting compliance programme. These processes mean we can say that your homes are electrically compliant and you’re at a low risk from being harmed.
Why should we all be electrically safe?
Badly modified and untested electrical services can put your safety, possessions and home at risk. Every year, over half of accidental domestic fires in the UK are caused by electrical faults and most of these are caused by electrical products, either because of misuse or faults. Over half of these electrical fires start in the kitchen with cooking appliances and white goods being the main cause.
Electrical testing is the only way to find manufacturing faults that could risk the electrical safety of a product. Thorough testing protects against the risk of electrical shock and means products can be used for their intended purpose with minimal chance of injury occurring.
This is why if you’re contacted about an appointment for electrical testing in your home, it would be great to have your full cooperation to ensure your homes are safe. We may have to take legal action if we aren’t able to access your home but this is the last resort and we’ll always try to contact residents before we take this step.
For more advice on how to stay safe with electricity, take a look at this guidance from Electrical Safety First.
Why is electrical compliance important?
If Network isn’t electrically compliant, not only can this put the homes we manage at risk but there are other consequences such as:
- Death - Electrical fires can be the cause of serious injury or death.
- Penalties - Breach of the regulations is a criminal offence and penalties can be issued by the Health and Safety Executive. The standard penalty is £6,000 fine for each item and six months imprisonment. In the most serious cases charges of manslaughter could be brought.
- Regulatory downgrades - More than 90 Housing Associations have received regulatory downgrades in the last four years – that can affect their ability to borrow and invest.
10 tips for electrical device safety
- Always make sure electrical appliances have a British or European safety mark when you buy them.
- Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order.
- Avoid buying cheap counterfeit chargers for items that use lithium batteries, and never leave phones or laptops plugged in to charge overnight – learn more about charger safety here.
- Empty fluff regularly from tumble dryers in line with the manufacturer’s instructions. Try not to overload washing machines or tumble dryers.
- Be lead safety savvy – cable drum extension leads should always be completely unwound to avoid overheating, and be careful not to overload extension leads.
- Avoid leaving washing machines, tumble dryers or dish washers running overnight or when you are out.
- If your appliance begins making strange noise or isn’t working properly, don’t ignore it. If you think there might be a problem, always unplug it and contact the manufacturer and report it to the appropriate person.
- Do regular checks of plugs and sockets for burn marks, sound of arching (buzzing or crackling) fuses blowing, circuit-breakers, tripping or if it feels too hot to touch. Report this as soon as possible.
- Clean behind your fridge and freezer regularly to keep lint and dust from building up, and make sure there is enough room to circulate freely.
- Always provide access to authorised electrical contractors to carry out electrical testing and work.