Electrical Safety First - top tips to staying safe during lockdown

Lesley Rudd is the new Chief Executive of leading UK safety charity, Electrical Safety First (ESF), having joined the Charity just before the ‘lockdown’. Here, she explains how the Charity is still working to keep people safe from electricity, including some top tips to stay safe while working from home.

It’s been an interesting introduction to my role as CEO of Electrical Safety First to find that, after just a few weeks in the job, the UK has had to go into lockdown! However, the Charity is very fortunate in being able to continue operating from home. The benefits of modern technology mean we can continue developing media campaigns and working with Government, industry - and other key stakeholders, such as the Building Safer Communities Programme  - to prevent fires, deaths and injuries, arising from electricity.

It may surprise you to know that electricity is the primary (74%) cause of electrical fires in Scotland, with most of them arising from electrical products. And current circumstances have highlighted concerns around homeworking safely, as it usually requires greater use of various electrical items, from laptops and tablets, to phones and heaters.

ESF recently undertook some research to determine the dangers a nation of newly remote workers may be unknowingly exposing themselves to. We found that more than two-thirds of Scots, working from home, are using extension leads or adaptors more than usual. In fact, we found 38% of them have more appliances plugged into one than usual. – often unaware that overloading sockets is a fire risk. And 39% of them also admitted to ‘daisy-chaining’ – i.e. plugging one extension lead into another - which we strongly advise against.

As most of us aren’t used to ensuring our workstations have no electrical hazards, we have been running a major media campaign, with some top safety tips for homeworking.

  • Electrical Safety Firsts top tips for working safely from home:
  • Don’t charge electrical items on beds - they can overheat and start a fire. Always charge on a hard, flat, non-flammable surface.
  • Use our online socket calculator to check you’re not overloading sockets
  • Take care with cables - they can cause slips and trips.
  • Don’t daisy-chain extension leads, which can result in an increased risk of fire. Move your workstation closer to a socket or use a longer lead.
  • Be mindful when preparing lunch. Don’t get distracted by emails, or work calls, leaving your cooker on and unattended.

For more information and tools to help people keep safe, visit our website: www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.  Do take some time to pay us a visit and ensure your time spent working from home is as safe as possible!

To discuss our campaigns and wider work in Scotland, please contact Wayne Mackay, at: wayne.mackay@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk .

Or telephone, 07973 709 358