June 2015




A cinema chain has been fined after two staff suffered electric shocks from a faulty popcorn machine.

Staff at Cineworld in East Didsbury failed to prevent a second worker suffering a potentially lethal shock by switching off the wrong machine, a court heard.

The cinema chain has now been convicted of a breach of health and safety laws for the first time in its history after the incident on December 4, 2013.

The machine, which keeps popcorn warm, was being switched on by a member of staff working at the theatre at Parrs Wood shortly after 11am when he suffered a shock.

It had a faulty switch and a panel missing meaning a live circuit board was exposed, Hugo Hollingsworth, prosecuting said.

The incident was reported to management at the cinema however it was not isolated, with a nearby machine, which was in fine working order, being unplugged instead.

That meant around 10 hours later, when the food outlet began to close, a second staff member also suffered an electric shock as he switched it off, which he said made his arm go stiff and caused his muscles to spasm.

The machine was next to a slush drinks machine with damp conditions increasing the risk of serious shocks, Mr Hollingsworth said.

Some staff had also indicated they had received inadequate training on what to do in the event of an electrical incident, he told Manchester magistrates court.

The matter was later reported to Manchester council which launched an investigation and prosecuted the company under the health and safety act.

The firm today pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure the welfare of an employee at work.

Cineworld, which generates revenues of more than £400m, was fined a total of £9,500 and ordered to pay £2,573 costs.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders said: “This is not a cowboy operation.

“There was simply a breakdown in procedures at a local level. It’s not clear how the first incident was reasonably avoidable. It is the second one which is obviously of more concern, as it was clearly avoidable by that stage.

“Electric shocks can be fatal. Thankfully they weren’t on this occasion. The company has clearly done all it can to improve matters.”

Kathryn Turner, defending Cineworld, said: “At the outset the company want me to indicate their sincere regret and remorse at this incident.

“It has an exemplary record with no previous convictions. Given it has more than 80 sites across the UK and considerable footfall, that should be given some weight.

“There are clear policies and procedures in place. This was due to a breakdown in communication and human error.”

Speaking after the hearing, a spokesman for the leisure chain said: “Cineworld is committed to ensuring the highest standards of health and safety for all its employees, contractors, customers and visitors.

“We wish to express our sincere regret for the injuries caused to Mr Monaghan and Mr Clayton and in pleading guilty, acknowledge that on this occasion we did not meet the high standards we set for the company.

“We accept the court’s decision in this case and will comply with its ruling.

"We have reviewed what has happened to ensure it does not occur again.”


January


Have your electrics checked before this happens


HSE Penalises Electrical Faults

A Suffolk plastics manufacturer has been fined after electrical fittings at its production site were found to be dangerous.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) uncovered serious issues with the construction and maintenance of the electrical systems at Techplas in Sudbury after investigating a separate unrelated issue.

HSE inspectors found live 400 volt cabling hanging off the wall, a broken socket with live 400 volt cabling coiled on the floor and fused spurs and electric switches hanging off single-core cabling, leaving the live 230 volt wiring inside exposed.

Guards had also been removed from a plastic forming machine, exposing heating elements that could become dangerous as soon as the machine was switched on.

HSE served three Prohibition Notices on the company ordering urgent improvements to be made. Magistrates were told the electrical systems posed a significant and immediate danger to workers.

After the hearing HSE inspector Saffron Turnell, said: "The state of the electrical systems at Techplas was simply appalling and it is only a matter of luck that nobody had been injured or electrocuted.

"Employers have a duty to ensure the workplace is a safe environment and this must include electrical installations, whether or not the work carried out at their premises directly involves electricity.” More at: www.hse.gov.uk.


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10th January

The aim of the Electrical Safety Register is to protect everyone who uses electricity from unsafe electrical installations. To achieve this, we maintain a register of qualified, competent electricians, assessed by the NICEIC and ELECSA.

NICEIC and ELECSA look at a representative sample of the contractor's work, their premises, documentation, equipment, and the competence of their key supervisory staff. Once contractors become registered with NICEIC or ELECSA, they are re-assessed on a regular basis to ensure high standards.

mug held in womans hand

Enrolment with NICEIC or ELECSA is voluntary, but electrical contractors who are conscientious about the service they offer would consider it a priority to enrol. Over 33,000 contractors are registered by the two schemes, covering the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland. This means that you're sure to have a choice of competent contractors operating in your area. Both have strict complaints procedures should something go wrong. On our search we also show whether a company is Trustmark registered. You can find out more about Trustmark at www.trustmark.org.uk 

Part P - What it Means

Part P of the Building Regulations came into force in January 2005 to ensure that all electrical work carried out within a dwelling - a home or garden - is carried out by a qualified registered electrician and your local authority building control is notified of this work. This notification is particularly important when moving house because the compliance certificate is required by the buyer's solicitor to show that any electrical work carried out at the house on behalf of the vendor or seller is safe. In other words, failure to comply could have an effect on the future sale of the home and the onus is on the home owner to ensure the work has been notified.

To help homeowners meet their obligations under Part P of the Building Regulations, NICEIC and ELECSA contractors are independently assessed at least annually to ensure that they are operating to the highest technical and professional standards. Under our 'self-certification' programmes, the contractor notifies us of the work he or she has carried out and we will issue the building compliance documentation to you and the Local Authority in keeping with the requirements of Part P. This means that you do not have to pay the Local Authority for an inspection of the work. Once you have this documentation keep it safe as you will certainly require it if you plan to sell the property.

Safety and competence

Electricians registered by NICEIC and ELECSA are not only assessed on a regular basis to ensure that they are competent and capable of meeting the relevant technical and safety standards, codes of practice and rules of the Schemes they are registered to.They are also provided with a range of other support services, such as the technical helpline to help them deliver excellence in the services they provide to their customers.

The ECA

The ECA is the trade association which represents the industry and has circa 3000 registered members ranging from local employers with only a few operatives, to national multi-service companies with several branches employing thousands. The Guarantee of Work Scheme automatically guarantees all ECA Registered Members' work, subject to terms and conditions, and removes the need for the contractor to enter into an insurance contract with customers. The guarantee is Part P and TrustMark compliant and covers completed contracts in any calendar year up to a value of £50,000 (including VAT) and £100,000 (including VAT) for multiple contracts for the same customer. 
ECA does not operate in Scotland

Compliance with building regulations

Contractors registered to NICEIC and ELECSA Building Regulations Schemes in England and Wales are authorised to self-certify their work to the Local Building Control Body. This saves you both time and money when undertaking work that requires notification under the Building Regulations.

An Insurance Backed Warranty

The NICEIC Insurance Backed Warranty (IBW) covers work undertaken by contractors registered to the NICEIC Domestic Installer Scheme that is notifiable to Building Control. The purpose of the Warranty is to protect consumers should any work be found not to comply with the Building Regulations under circumstances where the contractor is no longer in business to undertake the necessary remedial work. So remember to ask the contractor for a Part P certificate on completion of work. The certificate will have the IBW details on it.

The financial limit placed on the remedial work is £25,000 for any one installation per period of insurance and the warranty is valid for a period of six years from the date of completion of the original work.

Independent Complaints Procedure

NICEIC and ELECSA operate an independent complaints procedure. If the electrical work of a registered contractor is found to be below the accepted technical standard, NICEIC requires the contractor to correct the work, at no additional cost to the customer. NICEIC is concerned solely with the safety and technical standard of the electrical work carried out by Approved Contractors, and the standard of certification and electrical installation condition reports which Approved Contractors are responsible for producing.


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27th November

As the number of people becoming landlords soars, research from the Electrical Safety Council has found that misunderstandings between landlords and tenants over responsibilities for safety are exposing many people to life-threatening electrical dangers.

The ESC is concerned that the rise in inexperienced landlords - many of whom are finding it easier to rent out their property than sell it - will further compromise safety.

The consequences for not understanding obligations can be serious. If a landlord is found to be negligent over electrical safety it can lead to fines or even imprisonment.

Our guidance for landlords outlines the simple steps you can take to ensure the electrical safety of your properties.

Our Top 4 tips for landlords and electrical safety

Landlords are responsible for making sure the electrical installation is safe in a property

#1 This responsibility applies at the start of a tenancy and the property must be maintained in a safe condition throughout its duration. You should carry out basic visual checks to ensure that the installation has no hazards, including broken accessories (such as sockets and light switches), signs of scorching around sockets due to overloading, damaged cables to portable equipment or trailing cables/flexes.

Have a regular periodic inspection and test carried out on the property

#2 If you own a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO), you have a legal obligation to have a periodic inspection carried out on your property every five years. If your property is not an HMO, you are not legally obliged to get your installation inspected and tested on a periodic basis. However, the ESC recommends that a periodic inspection and test is carried out by a registered electrician on your rental properties at intervals not exceeding five years, or on a change of tenancy. They will then issue an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which details any damage, deterioration, defects or conditions within the installation that give rise, or potentially give rise, to danger.

Make sure that your property has adequate RCD protection

#3 Since 2008 the UK standard for the safety of electrical installations, BS 7671, has called for almost all electrical circuits installed in homes to be RCD protected. An RCD is a life-saving device which protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires.

Carry out Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) on appliances provided as part of the rental agreement

#4 As a landlord you are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the appliances you provide are safe. Portable Appliance Testing is one way of doing this and it should be carried out before every new tenancy.

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26th November - Flood news

Buildings in Lydbrook in the Forest of Dean have been flooded while Over, near Gloucester, has also been affected.

Firefighters are at Shuthonger, near Tewkesbury, pumping out water and the fire service said it was also getting a lot of calls from the Cirencester area.

The M50 between junctions two and four is closed, while lanes of the M5 have been flooded near Stroud.

Gloucestershire County Council said motorists should avoid or delay travelling where possible.


The fire service has been called to incidents in locations such as the Forest of Dean
The service said it was also dealing with a number of flooding incidents in Stroud.

In Tewkesbury, fire officers arrived on Sunday morning to try to prevent a row of bungalows from being flooded.

Crews also dealt with a blocked culvert nearby and said they were likely to be on the scene for "some time".

Steve Llewellyn helped to rescue his parents from their flooded home in Upper Lydbrook.

"My dad's in his 70s and he's never seen anything like it, he's never had water in the house before," he said.

"It's just freak, there's nothing you can do about it. You can't prepare for it."

Engineers from Gloucestershire Highways worked to help drain many of the county's roads which were affected by flooding.

A Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said anyone needing sandbags could pick them up from district or borough council offices.

She added rest centres were on standby overnight into Monday should they be needed.

Flood warnings remain in place for more than 200 rivers across the south west of England.

Other road closures on Sunday included the A38 between Cross Keys and Whitminster, the A40 Over to Highnam and the A46 between Nailsworth and Stroud.

The A435 at Bishop's Cleeve was also impassable and the A417 near Lechlade was closed.

A highways spokesman said: "Our main message is to please avoid driving through any flood water."

If your property has been damaged by flooding then this leaflet from the electrical safety council will be of use to you.http://bit.ly/10cVC0G

We can offer a fast and efficient electrical installations conditions report that will quickly establish what work needs to be done on your property following any water ingress call Local Electric now on 01594 833224 or 01452 898094

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13th November 2012


There has been a rise in fires caused by the misuse of appliances in the home, according to the Electrical Safety Council.

The ESC says fires from appliance misuse - or "safety blunders" - have increased by over a third since 2009.

It says misuse is already the top cause of all fires in UK homes. There were 14,700 such fires in the last year.

On average, fires caused by misuse kill 22 people and seriously injure about 2,500 each year.

The charity has issued guidance, tips and a Facebook application to help combat such safety mistakes. Its campaign is being supported by the Chief Fire Officers Association.

While appliance misuse is on the increase, there has been an overall decline in house fires, with chip pan fires falling by two thirds and fires started through smoking dropping by a third.

Common 'blunders'


Phil Buckle, director general of the ESC, said: "People think that they are behaving safely but the majority of people we surveyed had put themselves at risk by unknowingly making a safety blunder.

"Fires caused by misuse of appliances - the vast majority of which are electrical - are so easy to prevent but they will keep increasing unless people understand the simple things that can and do cause fires."

Vij Randeniya, president of the Chief Fire Officers Association, said: "We support the ESC's campaign and the partnership with local Fire and Rescue Services around the country.

"Thankfully, many fires can be prevented by taking a few simple safety steps, but the ESC's research has exposed a shocking lack of public awareness in this area."

According to the ESC, common "safety blunders" in homes include:

·         Creating a fire hazard by using the microwave as an additional surface and blocking air vents (33% of those surveyed)

·         Increasing the risk of serious fire spreading by leaving the tumble dryer running unattended or overnight (9%)

·         Blocking air vents by failing to clean behind their fridge/freezer (44%)

·         Overloading adaptor sockets, causing an unsafe rise in temperature (16%)

·         Leaving an electrical appliance on while unattended, only to be alerted by a burning smell (9%)

The ESC has conducted a survey of public attitudes to fire safety, interviewing 4,098 adults.

It says that three quarters of those surveyed said they had performed at least one "safety blunder" or misuse of an electrical appliance.

The ESC believes that there is a clear link between this lack of understanding and the surge in such fires.

Its research also suggests many UK adults do not have adequate protection from electrical fires - less than half of those surveyed (49%) have a Residual Current Device in their fuse box, a safety device which minimises the risk of fire by cutting off the power in the event of a fault.

However, almost four out of five (79%) believe that their homes are electrically safe.

The ESC's studies also included fire and accident trends from the Department of Communities and Local Government and data on the number of high risk electrical items in homes from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.


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5th November 2012



10 Tips for Safe Christmas Lighting from the Electrical Contractors’ Association


As Christmas appraches and the fairy lights are brought down from the loft, follow these tips from Giuliano Digilio, Head of Technical Services at the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), to make your sure Christmas sparkles – without any sparks!  
 
1)      Lights that have been stored away in the loft may have suffered damage. Make sure any frayed leads or broken connectors are replaced before use.
 
2)      Tempting as it may be, never overload sockets with your Christmas lights as this could result in overheating, electric shocks, short-circuiting and potentially cause a fire.
 
3)      To cope with winter weather, exterior Christmas lights should either be low voltage – 12V or 24V – or protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD) that will automatically kick into action and break the circuit in the event of an earth fault. Cables should never be fed through doors or windows, as this could cause damage.
 
4)      Ensure that cables are fully unwound. They can overheat and potentially cause a fire if they are left coiled on a reel…
 
5)      …But take care. Trailing wires and lighting leads are one of the most common causes of household trips and falls. Ensure that any cables or extension leads are not left across pathways, and cannot be easily grabbed by children and pets.
 
6)      Never have any lighting equipment, decorative or otherwise, near a water source.
 
7)      Turning off the Christmas lights before going to bed or when away from home will greatly reduce the risk of fire.
 
8)      And if you need to buy new lights as last year’s ones really have seen better days, only buy from reputable outlets. There are lots of budget versions out there, especially at car boot sales, but these are often not up to the required safety standards.
 
9)      Always check for the European Standard CE mark when buying new lights.
 
10)   Make sure lights you buy are suitable for the voltage they are being connected to. In the UK this should be 230 Volts.



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30th October 2012


Electrical Safety Council urges public to think safety as ‘blunder fires’ increase, fuelled by public naivety and growing number of high risk electrical items in homes

 
Alarming new research from the Electrical Safety Council shows a rise in fires caused by the misuse of appliances in the home.  Appliance misuse is already the top cause of all fires in British homes with millions of people committing everyday safety ’blunders’ without realising the risk of fire. The Charity, whose campaign is supported by the Chief Fire Officers Association, has issued guidance, top tips and a Facebook application to help combat these easily avoidable safety mistakes.
 

Britain’s biggest blunders [and the percentage of UK public committing them

  • Creating a fire hazard by using the microwave as an additional surface and blocking air vents (33%)
  • Increasing the risk of serious fire spreading by leaving the tumble dryer running unattended or overnight (9%)
  • Blocking air vents by failing to clean behind their fridge/freezer (44%)
  • Overloading adaptor sockets, causing an unsafe rise in temperature (16%)
  • Leaving an electrical appliance on while unattended, only to be alerted by a burning smell (9%)

 
Overall, a staggering three quarters of UK adults confessed to committing at least one simple safety blunder or misuse of an electrical appliance. The Electrical Safety Council believes that there is a clear link between this lack of understanding and the surge in ‘blunder fires’.
Fires caused by misuse of appliances have increased by over a third since 2009, despite there being an overall decline in house fires, with chip pan fires plummeting by two thirds and fires started through smoking dropping by a third. On average, fires caused by misuse of appliances kill 22 people, seriously injure about 2,500 and cost tens of millions of pounds in damage each year. In the last year alone, there were 14,700 fires of this nature.
Concern is heightened by the fact that there has been a considerable increase in the number of higher risk appliances in our homes – since 2004, the number of microwaves has increased by 1,457,000 and tumble dryers by 2,148,000.
Despite the increasing risk to homes, many UK adults do not have adequate protection from electrical fires; less than half (49%) have a Residual Current Device (RCD) in their fusebox, a vital safety device which minimises the risk of fire by cutting off the power in the event of a fault. However, almost four out of five (79%) believe that their homes are electrically safe
.
 

Simple steps to safety

To help the public test their own knowledge and become more aware of fire safety blunders, the ESC has created a Fire Blunders game, hosted on Facebook, which helps identify mistakes and improve safety. People can also download the free ‘Home Electrical Safety Check’ Smartphone app, a simple tool to check homes for electrical danger, or visit the ESC’s dedicated webpage esc.org.uk/homesafety, which contains top tips for avoiding simple blunders.
 
Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council saidPeople think that they are behaving safely but the majority of people we surveyed had put themselves at risk by unknowingly making a safety blunder. Fires caused by misuse of appliances – the vast majority of which are electrical - are so easy to prevent but they will keep increasing unless people understand the simple things that can and do cause fires.
 
Today we are issuing a warning to consumers: make sure you’re informed about electrical safety to avoid the increasing risk of injury or death by electrical fire. Most accidents are preventable and the ESC is here to help you. Protect yourself, your home and your family by following our simple tips, installing RCD protection in your fuse box or testing your current knowledge in our Facebook blunder quiz.”
 
 

To learn how to protect yourself, your home and your family from house fires take the Facebook Blunder quiz by searching ‘Electrical Safety Council’ on Facebook, or follow our top tips on esc.org.uk/homesafety