New research commissioned by the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation (NICEIC) and ELECSA, has found that faulty electrics could be responsible for ruining more than just Christmas this year.

The headline finding form NICEIC, the leading regulatory body for electricians, and ELECSA, one of the most trusted Part P schemes, is that 19 million homes are at risk of a fire this Christmas. 

The research found that UK homeowners are becoming increasingly complacent when it comes to checking the electrics in their homes, despite 80 percent admitting to going ‘over the top’ when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations.  

Aesthetics more important than safety’

It’ll come as no surprise that 90 percent of the 2,000 UK tenants and homeowners canvassed in the survey said they would be decorating their homes this Christmas. What’s more surprising is perhaps the fact that 42 percent admitted to paying more attention to the way their property looked than its safety. 

In fact, only 23 percent said they would spend any time at all considering the safety implications of their Christmas decorations, or the impact they could have on their electrics. 

Electrical wholesaler Harry Burton of said:

“As a supplier of Christmas lights this news is quite concerning. Everyone wants their house to look good at Christmas, but electrical safety can’t be overlooked.”

Nearly half have never had their electrics checked

Perhaps the most shocking finding was that nearly half of the householders surveyed (49 percent) said they had never checked the electrics in their property, and did not know when the electrics had last been checked before they moved in. 

The Christmas period is particularly high risk in terms of house fires as a result of the increased use of decorative lights, multiple sockets and extension leads. However, despite the potential risk of overloading sockets, or the damage that could be caused by Christmas lights that have spent the last year in the attic, only three percent were concerned about the potential damage that could be caused.  

The main causes for concern

The most common problem that occurs at Christmas is the overloading of sockets by people using too many lights in their gardens, which can put their electrical systems under a huge amount of strain. 

Further problems are caused by the fact that 57 percent of householders admit to using the same lights year after year without properly checking them first; 30 percent use the same lights they have used for five years or more; while 47 percent said they did not understand the significance of the British Safety Kitemark.

Faulty electrics cause 20,000 house fires every year

In a bid to reduce the number of house fires caused at this time of year, NICEIC and ELECSA have compiled these five top tips:

Do not overload sockets – Avoid the use of extension sockets and adapters whenever possible and never plug multiple extensions into one another.

Do not rewire lights – Some homeowners are tempted to rewire two, three or even four sets of lights into a single plug. This is extremely dangerous and can cause a house fire. 

Only use outside lights that are certified for external use – Only use garden lights that have been designed specifically for use outdoors. 

Never leave lights on overnight or when you go out – Homeowners can sometimes leave lights on when they go out, overnight or for long periods. Christmas lights should only be left on during waking hours and while the homeowner is at home.

Only use lights that have been certified for use – Christmas lights that do not have the European Standards Symbol (represented by a CE) or the British Standards Kitemark should not be used. 

For more information please refer to the Christmas safety tips from NICEIC and ELECSA

Welding carries with it obvious dangers. You are working with a flaming torch after all! But there are a number of hazards and potential dangers you should be aware of if you are carrying out this kind of work, especially if you are not a trained professional.

Here are 5 potential dangers to keep in mind when welding:


1) Fumes

Welding gases and fumes contain noxious metal oxide compounds, which needless to say, are detrimental to your health. Any space where you are welding should be well ventilated, and have exhaust systems to keep dangerous gases and fumes away from your breathing space. There are numerous ventilation systems offered, and suppliers such as R-Tech Welding carry extraction systems which are well worth considering in a professional environment.  


2) Inadequate workwear

If welding you should of course wear suitable workwear. The dangers of not having adequate PPE are really quite unnecessary. Non-professional welders may not have the kit that the pros are given by their employers, but if you are going to undertake a dangerous job you need to be fully protected.


PPE blog UK Safety Store recently commented on the importance of workwear for welders:


“Welding is a risky job so anyone doing this kind of job should be properly kitted out. We recommend flame retardant clothing and gloves to anyone working with fire or flame of any sort.”


Helmet, safety glasses and side shields or goggles are also a must, as well as ear muffs or plugs to protect your ears and strong safety boots.


3) Electric shock

Perhaps the most significant threat to a welder is that of a serious electric shock. Considerable injury and even death is possible if you don’t take adequate care when working. Serious injury and death can be caused by the shock itself, or from a subsequent fall.


But how does this happen? The most common way to be electrocuted when welding is by touching two objects that are carrying an electric current. This puts you right into the circuit - not a place you want to be! Shocks from an arc welding circuit are relatively common and these shocks can carry between 20 to 100 watts. And it’s worth knowing that a shock of even 50 watts has the potential to kill.


4) Fire

Given the work undertaken in welding it may hardly be surprising that fire is one of the main dangers. Welding creates extremely high temperatures and without the right safety precautions there is the risk of fire and even explosion.


The arc itself can generate 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but the real hazard consists of the sparks from the arc which can travel up to 35 feet away. Before beginning a task you should check your working area and remove any flammable materials, from paper and wood to oil and paint.


Working in the health and safety industry brings you into contact with a lot of workers with dangerous jobs, but which are the most perilous? We were discussing this one day at UK Safety Store so thought we'd investigate further, leading to this infographic of the UK's 10 most dangerous jobs. The data is based on the latest figures from the HSE at the time of writing, and some of the professions may surprise you.


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The word 'Asbestos' comes from the ancient Greek meaning 'unquenchable' or 'inextinguishable' and has been in use for well over 4000 years. Its name is given to a number of naturally occurring fibrous silicate minerals which is mined in various locations around the world. It was widely used in fire resistant and insulating materials as well as automotive parts. Due to its incredible characteristics such as strength, incombustibility, and resistance to high temperature heat to name a few, as well as being cheap and readily available, it was regarded as an architects' dream come true.

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"Go out there and catch somebody doing something right, then say thank you!"


Image of two construction workers shaking hands 

Regardless of where an organisation's health and safety culture sits in space and time, whether it is a mature and positive culture, or one being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, nobody can deny that behavioural safety programmes have their place.

I'm fortunate enough to be in a job role where I have the opportunity to positively influence people's behaviours and attitudes just by the power of a conversation. I'm no expert, but I thought I'd share some of my own experiences and tips on having a positive and effective behavioural based conversation. 

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