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Electrical Safety Month is nearly over, but that doesn't mean we should stop thinking about electrical hazards and the harm they can cause. Electrical safety should be a continuing concern for everybody (especially employers, who must always take responsibility for the health and safety of their workers).

With that in mind, we'd like to close Electrical Safety Month with these helpful tips for preventing electrical accidents:

  • Only carry out electrical work if you are competent enough to do so. Not all electrical jobs have to be carried out by qualified electricians - for example, most people are capable of changing a light bulb or replacing the fuse in a plug. However, you should NEVER undertake ANY electrical work unless you are completely sure of what to do; if you don't know the correct way to safely complete the task at hand, call someone who does.

  • Pay attention to warning signs and labels. If you see an electrical warning sign or safety label, be sure to heed its instructions before continuing. Those warnings are there for a reason!

  • Provide warning signs and labels for others. Of course, electrical safety warnings don't magically appear on any potentially hazardous equipment - they have to be put there by a responsible person. If that person is you, be sure to use the correct signs and labels to help protect your employees and the general public from harm.

  • If you see something unsafe, report it. It could be an electrical installation that isn't properly labelled, a cable that has become unfit for us, or even a co-worker carrying out electrical work in an improper manner - whatever the hazard, be sure to let somebody know. Report it to the person responsible for health and safety in your workplace, and if they don't take action, contact the Health and Safety Executive for further guidance. You should never stay quiet about a potential safety risk - inaction costs lives!

  • Educate yourself and others. It's easier to prevent electrical accidents if you know exactly what can happen. For starters, we recommend visiting the HSE's Electrical Safety page and brushing up on the do's and don'ts of electrical work. Be sure to share the information with others, too - you won't be able to keep everyone safe on your own!

manual handling safety tips

Manual handling (a catch-all phrase that refers to any lifting, lowering, filling, emptying, or carrying that is done by manpower alone) can be quite dangerous, particularly if the loads involved are extremely heavy. The risks involved with these task means that injuries are common when the correct health and safety measures aren't followed. Of course, it's hard to avoid these tasks altogether, so here are three top tips for staying safe whilst carrying out any manual handling task in the workplace:


Our first manual handling tip is to fill out a manual handling assessment form before you start. These forms encourage workers to properly scrutinise the potential risks asociated with a manual handling task; a properly filled-out form will minimise the chance of an accident, and if an accident does occurr, it may help to exonerate the employer from blame by proving that the correct health and safety procedures were followed.


Our second manual handling safety tip is to always label heavy loads appropriately. Using warning labels such as the one shown above will ensure that your employees are aware of dangerously heavy loads before attempting to lift them.


Our final manual handling safety tip is to use the correct safety signs. Putting safety warnings around your workplace (as well as on the loads themselves) will further improve your workforce's knowledge of manual handling safety.


To follow these tips properly you should visit our Manual Handling Safety department now and start improving safety in your workplace!

Electrical hazard symbol

Most of us use electricity every day - it's an easy luxury to take for granted, and in doing so, we often forget just how dangerous electricity can be. As May is Electrical Safety Month, here are a few stories to remind us of exactly what can happen when electricity is misused and safety regulations are ignored:

HGV Driver Electrocuted by Overhead Power Lines
from hse.gov.uk, 12 January 2015

Nigel Fox, a 59-year-old man from Northamptonshire, was tragically killed when the lorry he was driving struck an 11,000 volt power line on a farm in Salisbury. The farm's owner, Tony Slade, was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,609; in a press release, the Health and Safety Executive stated that "Mr Slade had made no attempt to remove or reduce the serious risk associated with the power line crossing the yard", going on to suggest that Slade should have considered "diverting the cable or providing signs or barriers to warn visitors of its existence".


Apprentice Electrician Killed by Exposed Electrical Bars
from rochdaleonline.co.uk, 22 April 2015

Nathan Brown, a 19-year-old apprentice electrician from Rochdale, was testing a set of lights when he came into contact with an unprotected set of busbars and received a lethal electric shock. The shock sent Brown falling head-first onto a roof below, but a pathologist stated that he "probably suffered a cardiac arrest before falling to the ground" - that is, he was killed by the electricity, not by the fall. Brown had been working with his father David, who in the aftermath of the accident made this statement: "As far as I am aware the busbar should have been marked up in a sleeve with the marking 'danger high voltage'. I have never come across a busbar not sleeved and marked with an appropriate sign."


Bradford Man Hospitalised After Using Unsafe Testing Equipment
from hse.gov.uk, 24 January 2014

An unnamed 22-year-old from Bradford needed skin grafts on both hands after touching an exposed conductor and receiving a 415 volt electric shock. The conductors were part of some testing equipment that the man was using to test a transformer; his employer, Wilson Power Solutions Ltd, was fined £6,500 for giving the trainee "unsafe, inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment to test an electrical transformer with no training or supervision".

So, how can you prevent accidents like these in your workplace?

  • Use appropriate warning signs
  • Keep electrical equipment in good condition
  • Before allowing an employee to work with electricity, ensure that he/she is properly trained to do so

Do you have something to say about electrical safety? Join our #ElectricalSafetyMonth conversation on Twitter.

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Last year, we published a blog post about the dangers of vandalising safety signs. At the time, these sensless acts were despciably common in Britain, and we regret to announce that little seems to have changed in the intervening months. Here are two shameful stories from this week alone:


Clevedon road safety signs stolen

from the North Somerset Times

Vandals in Clevedon have removed at least seven 30mph speed limit signs, along with multiple child crossing signs, from the town's roads over the last few weeks. The chairman of a local community group stated that it would be a "big job" to check throughout the town and replace the stolen signs, which are necessary to keep motorists driving at safe speeds.

Vandals remove safety signs at Scottish reservoir

from the The Evening Times

Essential safety signs have also been stolen from the site of Balgray reservoir in Glasgow. Reports suggest that signs have been removed, thrown in the reservoir, and even set on fire; a Scottish Water spokesman pointed out that the signs "are there to help save lives" and that "the vandals' actions could put lives at risk".

It's bad enough when signs are defaced and rendered difficult to read, but people who remove them - like the vandals mentioned in the above reports - are even worse. Doing this eliminates the safety warning altogether, potentially leaving people unaware of risks to their own safety. If you see anybody vandalising or removing a safety sign in your neighbourhood, be sure to report it to the authorities - you could be saving lives by doing so!

Photo by Elliott Brown