Electrical Safety Advice for Individuals

Check your fusebox

Your fusebox controls the electrics in your home which is why it’s important that you check it’s working safely.

  • All fuseboxes should have a main switch, fuses and/or circuit breakers.
  • Your fuse box should NOT have a wooden back, cast iron switches or what looks like a mix of different fuseboxes.
  • If your circuit-breakers trip or fuses regularly blow, then it’s worth getting them checked by a registered electrician.

Check for RCDs

An RCD (Residual Current Device) is a life-saving device that cuts out power if there’s an accident and can prevent you from receiving a fatal electric shock.

To check whether you have an RCD press the ‘Test’ or ‘T’ button:

  • If you do have an RCD, pressing it will switch off the power to the areas of the home that it protects.
  • If you don’t have an RCD in your fusebox, or if it’s not working, you should use plug-in RCDs for all the sockets in your home.

Plugs and sockets

If your electrics are over 50 years old they’ll need checking and updating. Electrics can also be become damaged or faulty, in which case they will require professional attention.

Things to look out for:

  • Round pin sockets
  • Braided flex hanging from ceiling light fittings
  • Sockets mounted in skirting boards
  • Damaged plugs and sockets
  • Visible burn marks, crackling sounds or excessive heat being emitted.

Light fittings

Any signs of overheating such as curled labels, discolouration or scorching should be a warning sign. If you see any signs of cracking or burn marks around the light fittings stop using them immediately and get them checked by a registered electrician.


Cables should be in good condition with no signs of damage, cracking or splitting and should be enclosed in a PVC sheath. Cuts, damage or signs of excessive wear and tear mean that the lead or plug might need replacing. Try to avoid trailing cables across the floor or under carpets and rugs as this can be a trip hazard

Check the smoke alarm

Every property should have a working smoke alarm and batteries should be changed every year. You can test the smoke alarm by pressing the ‘Test’ button. If there’s no smoke alarm then contact your local Fire and Rescue Service.

Undertake a full electric check

If the property is over 50 years old and its electrics haven’t been checked in the last ten years, ask a registered electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report, or EICR, (previously known as a Periodic Inspection Report, or PIR).

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