The Electrical Safety Council has discovered that almost a quarter of people have hired an electrician without checking their credentials. With electrical accidents responsible for half of all house fires and someone dying every week from an electrical accident, the charity is urging the public to be vigilant and check the person they employ is appropriately qualified.
The charity estimates there are around 20,000 non-registered electricians operating in the UK . It is concerned that casual attitudes to using non-registered electricians, and people not knowing how to check whether an electrician is registered, are contributing to the number of electrical accidents in people’s homes. In addition to the deaths and fires, 350,000 are seriously injured each year.
The Electrical Safety Council study found that one third of people have hired an electrician based on a recommendation from a friend without checking credentials. It also reveals that a quarter would knowingly use an unregistered electrician if they were in a hurry. However, the study also found that nearly 1.3 million people have paid someone to fix botched work carried out by an unregistered electrician.
Worryingly, the problem seems to be on the rise – a third of registered electricians say they have seen an increase in the amount of substandard or dangerous work conducted by unregistered electricians in the past two years. Registered electricians surveyed by the Electrical Safety Council also warned about the dangers of relying on others, such as a builder, to select electricians on your behalf. Over half said they were aware of complex jobs such as bathroom or kitchen fittings with electrical elements, that were carried out by unqualified or unregistered electricians.
Consumer champion Dominic Littlewood is an ambassador for the campaign. He said:
“Rogue traders come in many shapes and forms – from your mate down the pub, to the guy that helps your builder out with a few odds and ends. What can look legitimate, or sound convincing at first glance, may turn into a nightmare if the person doesn’t have the right qualifications.
“So don’t be shy, get clued up – know what to look for and how to check that any electricians you use are registered. A bit of time spent getting these details right at the start of the job will give you peace of mind and could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.”
Phil Buckle, Director General of the Electrical Safety Council said:
“It is worrying that many people are simply unaware of the need to ensure the person carrying out electrical work in their home is competent. Choosing an electrician registered with a government approved scheme guarantees they have the skills to carry out the work and ensures procedures are in place should something go wrong. Electrical safety is not something anyone should take a gamble on – this is why we are providing information online, to support people in identifying registered electricians in their area. You wouldn’t get an unregistered tradesperson to fix your boiler so why do it for your electrics?”
To find out more. visit www.esc.org.uk/findanelectrician