Most consumers set out to buy electrical supplies, plumbing supplies, and tools, for use at home and in the workplace, without giving a thought as to the safety risks involved.
This ignorance by consumers will see them buy faulty electrical appliances, which have been identified as the leading cause for a large percentage of accidental fires in the home. As a result, the UK government has, in recent times, launched a consumer awareness programme that aims to sensitise consumers on how to buy, install, and safely use electrical systems and appliances. The focus of the programme can be broken down into two; buying tips and safety tips.
The tips for buying electrical supplies, as promoted by the government, revolves around three main aspects; buying supplies and tools that have been approved, carrying out proper testing of any second hand appliances before using them, and carefully following the instructions contained in the manufacturer’s manual.
The buying of supplies and appliances that have been approved, in this case by the British Electro-technical Approval Board, ensures that you are safe as a consumer, since the product has been tested thoroughly and deemed safe for consumer use. The BEAB is the main body that is mandated by the British government to carry out tests on electrical and plumbing supplies, and other domestic appliances, to determine whether they are safe for use by consumers. Approved products are given a seal of approval that consumers can use to identify products that are deemed safe to use.
The buying of second hand electrical appliances and supplies has been a thorn in the flesh for safety experts. This is why buying of such appliances is greatly discouraged. However, since it I not against any law to buy, some consumers still buy second hand appliances, largely because they are far much cheaper than buying new equipment. Such buyers are thus urged, to ensure that any second hand electrical appliance they buy is thoroughly tested by a licensed technician, before using it at home or in the workplace.
The other important tip is for consumers to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions; as contained in the user manual that comes with every piece of electrical equipment purchased. The manual contains detailed specifications about the product, instructions on how it can be operated or used safely. Other details contained in the manual may include how to troubleshoot, care, and maintain the product to ensure it lasts longer.
Apart from these tips, there are others, which are considered more or less common sense. These include buying the right kind of equipment or tool for the intended purpose, and only buying appliances that are able to withstand the electrical load that you will be using. For example, do not buy an appliance that is clearly indicated that its use must not exceed a particular number of hours, yet you require an appliance that has the capacity to run full-time. In addition, you must ensure that each appliance is fitted with the correct electrical fuse.